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A Beginner’s Guide to Looker

In the current business environment, where data is at the heart of decision-making, tools like Looker play a crucial role. Looker allows businesses to dive deep into their data, generating insights through ‘explores’ and ‘dashboards’. This guide introduces you to Looker’s data visualization capabilities and explains why they’re vital in today’s analytics-driven world.

What is Looker?

A Looker dashboard / view inside the Looker platform
A Looker dashboard / view inside the Looker platform


Looker is designed to help businesses harness the power of their data by making it accessible and actionable.

You can create and explore customizable data models using Looker’s own modeling language called LookML. Once data models are set up, you can create visualizations, dashboards, and reports to represent the data and derive insights.

Looker integrates seamlessly with various database systems and can pull real-time data for analysis.

Acquisition by Google


In 2019, Google Cloud announced its intent to acquire Looker for $2.6 billion. This acquisition was part of Google’s strategy to booster its cloud data and analytics capabilities. By integrating Looker into the Google Cloud ecosystem, Google aimed to offer its customers more powerful data analytics and business intelligence tools. The acquisition was completed in early 2020, making Looker a part of the Google Cloud suite of products.

The integration of Looker into Google’s portfolio underscores the importance of data analytics in today’s business landscape and Google’s commitment to providing top-tier tools for its customers. And it also shows the potential that the tool has.

How Looker stands out on helping companies become data-driven?

If you’re considering Looker for your data needs, you’re onto something good. It’s a favorite for many businesses out there. Let’s dive into the reasons.

  • One Place for All Data: With Looker, your data is in one spot. No more hopping between tools and getting confused with different numbers.
  • Fresh Data, Always: Since Looker connects straight to your databases, you get the latest info. No more outdated reports! A couple of databases / datawarehouses: BigQuery, Amazon RedShift, Snowflake, PostgreSQL, Teradata, Athena, etc. It’s all there.
  • Your Data, Your Way with LookML: Imagine crafting your data models just the way you like. With LookML, it’s like having a tailor-made suit for your data.
  • Interactive Dashboards: Picture this: dashboards that you can play around with, drilling down to what matters to you.
  • Plays Well with Others: Whether it’s your favorite database or a third-party tool, Looker’s is there for your needs. Integrations are widely available: Slack, Google Sheets, Twilio, Salesforce, Dropbox, Tableau, Jira, etc.
  • Grows with You: As your business takes off, Looker scales up. It is designed to be cloud-native. This means it’s inherently built to leverage cloud resources, allowing for easy scaling as data volume or the number of users increases.
  • Share the Love (and Data): Found an important insight? Share it with your team. These dashboards can be set with specific permissions, ensuring the right people have access. It also allows you to schedule regular data deliveries.
  • Analytics Everywhere: You can plug Looker’s into other apps, making its insights genuinely omnipresent. Whether it’s embedding interactive dashboards into your web applications using iFrames or JavaScript, automating workflows with Looker’s comprehensive RESTful API, or even building custom data applications directly within Looker, the possibilities are vast. And with pre-built integrations from Looker’s Marketplace and various SDKs at your disposal, integrating Looker’s powerful analytics into your existing tools and platforms becomes a real possibility.

Looker dashboard made on top of Looker’s SDK and JavaScript APIs
Looker dashboard made on top of Looker’s SDK and JavaScript APIs


  • Safety First: With Looker, your data’s locked tight. It employs encryption both in transit and at rest, safeguarding your data from potential breaches. Regular security audits and compliance certifications further solidify its stance as a trusted platform. In a world where data is invaluable, think of Looker as a fortified vault, protecting your precious data gems from any threats.

Looker Studio and Looker are the same?

In the sphere of data analytics and Business Intelligence (BI), the names Looker and Looker Studio represent two distinct facets of the Google Cloud Platform’s offerings. Though they share a common lineage and aim to empower users in deriving insights from data, their functionalities diverge to cater to different aspects of data interaction and visualization.

Looker, a comprehensive BI tool, facilitates a deep dive into raw data, enabling a thorough analysis to derive actionable insights. It is tailored for users and analysts who seek a robust platform to query, explore, and visualize data in a multifaceted manner. Looker’s ability to handle complex data models and provide a rich set of analytics features makes it a go-to solution for businesses keen on leveraging data for informed decision-making.

On the flip side, Looker Studio, the evolved version of Google Data Studio, is designed with a focus on creating reports and dashboards. Its user-friendly interface, inclusive of ‘drag and drop’ functionality, simplifies the process of visual representation of data. Looker Studio is ideal for those who wish to quickly create visual reports and dashboards without delving into the complexities of data modeling. It’s a tool that encapsulates simplicity while providing a platform for intuitive data interaction.

The primary distinction lies in their approach to data. While Looker embraces a more comprehensive, analytical approach, Looker Studio leans towards visual representation and report creation. Looker provides a broader spectrum of data analysis tools, facilitating a deeper understanding and manipulation of data. In contrast, Looker Studio offers a straightforward, step-by-step pathway to creating visually appealing, easy-to-interpret reports and dashboards.

Moreover, the integration of Git version control in Looker Studio exemplifies a step towards structured data management and project versioning, catering to a need for organized, collaborative data interaction.

A brief summary of their differences:

Aspect Looker Looker Studio
Primary Focus Comprehensive data analysis Creating reports and dashboards
User Interface Suited for in-depth analysis User-friendly, drag and drop feature
Data Modeling Advanced Simplified
Ideal Users Users and analysts seeking deep data insights Users focused on visual representation
Interaction with Data Complex queries and exploration Straightforward, step-by-step visualization creation
Project Management Not specified Git version control integration
Platform Part of Google Cloud’s BI offerings Evolved version of Google Data Studio, part of Google Cloud’s BI offerings
Complexity Higher Lower

While both Looker and Looker Studio are housed under the same Google Cloud umbrella and contribute to the overarching goal of Business Intelligence (BI), they cater to varying degrees of data analysis complexity. Looker appeals to those seeking an in-depth analysis, while Looker Studio attracts users keen on straightforward reporting and data visualization. This delineation ensures that users have tailored solutions to meet their specific data interaction and analysis needs, making the Google Cloud Platform a versatile choice for diverse data endeavors.

Want to be data-driven with Looker?

At its core, Looker holds immense potential for businesses, and our mission is to help you harness it effectively. From meticulous data modeling to crafting intuitive visualizations, our team is dedicated to ensuring you get the most out of Looker.

We believe that with the right expertise, any organization can transition to a data-driven approach seamlessly.

Reach out to us, and let’s embark on this transformative journey together, turning data into valuable insights for your business.

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