Next generation Google BI is here – meet Looker Studio

5 min read by Josh Crawford 12 Oct 2022

There were some pretty big mic drop moments at yesterday’s Google Cloud Next, including potentially the most powerful collaborative approach to AI, ML and business intelligence unifying the expertise and tech of big players with a big mission. 

The north star vision for Google continues to be “to organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”, and the same applies to business intelligence at Google Cloud, which is now a resulting shared goal after the acquisition of Looker in 2020.  

What does it mean?

As of yesterday, Google is consolidating and combining Looker, Data Studio and all its incredible core tech centred on artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) under the umbrella of Looker. 

Which means that Data Studio is now Looker Studio. Still at no cost, but with a sophisticated, 360 approach to business intelligence in one place. Available in preview right now. 

But what does it really mean?

Immediately, opportunity beckons, with the added comfort of having the same access to data we always have. With continued Google Workspace integrations, and Google Sheets being eventually (or really shortly) being able to access Looker data/models, there are also plans in the pipeline to support Looker models in Tableau and Power BI.

It’s unclear, currently, if we will be able to author models within supported platforms including LookML, but there will be an enterprise-target pro version of Looker Studio which will support management features, collaboration capabilities and SLAs. 

For further data lineage and visibility of metadata, expect the roll out of a Dataplex integration, giving even stronger insight and real-time analysis. 

Always users first

Our performance marketing team is singing from the rooftops, but it means great things for those less well versed in tech, but still in pursuit of game-changing insights.

The integration with Google Workspace will place insights at our fingertips in formats familiar to us, easily accessible and from trusted curated sources. 

Other popular integrations and partnerships also power this bold move. A partnership with Sisu Data will deliver machine learning assisted anomaly detection, providing answers with root cause analysis in Looker and BigQuery up to 80% faster than current approaches, meaning we’ll be able to detect and resolve problems much more quickly. 

Furthermore, the Looker Studio API will enable Workspace and Cloud Identity organisations to automate management and migration of assets, with simple and easy configuration with applications. Great news all round. 

So what next for us? 

For now, there are no major changes to how our clients and our team will use the product on a daily basis, but this sets the runway for Looker Studio to grow as a product. 

The rollout of Looker Studio Pro could allow us to build stronger and more robust data models, and we’ll continue to integrate the updates as they become available to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to delivering game-changing insights for ourselves and our clients. 

This is an interesting move from Google, it bodes very well for the life of the product and likely means it will continue for a good while as a free resource with premium, enterprise upgrades. Depending on the roadmap, we could also see more of Looker being available for free with access to more of its advanced BI suite.

There’s also a brand play here – Looker has traditionally been associated with enterprise budgets, which Looker Studio now becomes part of. With a less generic product name, we fully expect them to make a bigger play with their brand marketing. 

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