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  • Writer's pictureHa Hoang

An Overview of Looker

Updated: Nov 25, 2022

In 2019, Google announced plans to acquire Looker, and in early 2020 the acquisition was finalized. Looker is a Business Intelligence software that helps companies explore, analyze and share business insights easily in real-time. Besides LookML concepts, are there any features that set Looker apart from other tools?

Table of content

1. What is Looker?

Looker, now part of Google Cloud, is a cloud-based business intelligence (BI) platform designed to explore, share, and analyze data. The solution helps businesses to capture and analyze data from multiple sources and make data-driven decisions. The dashboards allow for presenting data and insights using customizable charts, graphs, and reports. Users can drill down into any dashboard or query to look for information in multiple layers. Users can define data metrics and explore relationships between different data sets using the data modelling language provided by Looker. It functions well with various datasets and uses data modelling to power many analytics applications, such as data management, data visualization, etc.

2. Key Features

Looker differs from many popular analytics systems in several ways:

  • Blocks are pre-built segments of code that users can utilize to speed up analytics. Instead of starting from scratch, using blocks allows one to reuse previously completed work and then modify the blocks to one's specifications.

  • Analytics and exploration capabilities allow users to create their own reports and query data to investigate the area they wish to analyze. It is simple to use because most operations rely on a single, self-intuitive code.

  • LookML is a simple modelling language that enables analysts to organize unprocessed data for analysis. Business users can simply access and use the data model for analysis and reporting once it has been created and published in Looker. Typically, models for LookML are generated during setup.

  • Through an API, Looker, a component of Google Cloud, offers easy connectivity with GCP BigQuery.

  • Developers can work on reports and any component that uses Git version control at the same time.

  • Looker can combine many data sources and offer a comprehensive perspective of an organisation's data, processes, target market, and operations.

3. Benefits

  • Its interface makes it easy to use its features for each role across the entire organization, from business user to developer.

  • Looker offers a data-driven workflow: Team members access real-time data from consolidated sources, ensuring that everyone uses the same data and works on the same page.

  • Looker is a multi-cloud solution that provides a cutting-edge on-premises and cloud SQL database to secure your data strategy.

  • Looker is scalable and with in-built architecture.

  • Looker's centrally managed modelling layer encourages the reuse of dimensions and measures while offering distinct degrees of data governance.

4. Drawbacks

  • A lot of learning is needed to become proficient with the tool and adopt LookML and the model-view methodology for end users.

  • Business needs a sizable staff to maximize their potential. Looker is not an all-in-one solution. Users have to model data in dbt before completing the task with Looker.

  • It takes longer than other tools to complete various tasks. Since there are no functions for certain tasks, including performing calculations, you will need to develop your own code. You might require technical knowledge to utilize Looker.

  • Before any code can be accessed by end users, it must be pushed and approved from the Development to Production state.

5. Pricing

Looker's website doesn't provide any pricing details. Contact the business directly to receive a quote that is customized to your needs. However, according to unofficial sources, the cost for a team of 10 people starts at $3,000 per month.


6. Conclusion

Looker is a rising star in the market for business analytics software, which explains why Google decided to buy them. They have the potential to become market-leading data analytics tools, especially given how fast they can adjust to client demands. It is worthwhile to give Looker a try, given that it supports the vast majority of well-liked data warehouses and data lakes.



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Alternatives

All this is to say that Looker is great, but not for everyone. There are plenty of other great data visualization tools out there, such as Rocket.BI, Superset, Qlik Sense and more. Depending on your needs, you might be able to pick the right option to replace or use alongside Looker.


Data Insider Rocket.BI: Rocket.BI is the top alternative to Looker as it is also a comprehensive self-service business intelligence solution of Data Insider, specifically designed for analytical databases. It analyzes data and shares insights quickly and effectively using a simple drag-and-drop interface. It offers a better capability to perform advanced analysis with SQL queries, data modelling, and more. See more about Rocket.BI


Apache Superset is an easy-to-use Business Intelligence tool that collects and processes data in large volumes to produce visualized results like charts and graphs. Thus, the web application allows users to generate dashboards and reports that aid business growth. Here is an introduction to Superset


Qlik Sense is a modern and fully web-based data analysis platform. It gives you the power to explore, discover and tell the story of your data from across your business, plus with its responsive design, your data will look beautiful on any device. Discover Qlik Sense with us here


Sisense offers a wide range of BI tools, including data modeling, data visualization, and AI analytics. The platform was designed to be easy to scale and includes security features such as attack surface monitoring and disaster recovery. There are more about Sisense to see here


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