On October 11, during Google Next 2022 virtual user conference, Kate Wright, Senior Director for BI Product Management at Google, announced that all Google Cloud BI products are now rebranded as Looker. With this change, Google Data Studio became Looker Studio. But what should that mean to you, or why should you care?
In this article, we will discuss the changes with this integration, what Data Studio and Looker mean, why Google unified these tools and the advantages of the new Looker Studio.
So, let’s dive right in!
Data Studio vs Looker: What are they?
Looker and Data studio are becoming one. They complement each other to open up more opportunities that increase their BI and analytic capabilities.
If you are new to both or any of these BI tools, this section will help you understand them. We’ll define Looker and Data Studio, briefly discussing the overview of their services.
So, let’s check them out below.
What is Looker?
Looker is a modern Business Intelligence and big data analytics tool that allows users to explore, analyze, and share data to help them make critical business decisions. In 2019, Google acquired Looker, which is now part of the Google Cloud platform.
Looker has become an umbrella that unifies all of Google’s Business Intelligence tools under one platform. It allows users to analyze and access secured and governed data under one platform to meet their organization’s needs.
What is Google Data Studio?
Google Data Studio, currently known as Looker Studio, is a data visualization platform that helps you create beautiful, shareable, responsive, and interactive custom reports and dashboards to inform your business decisions.
With Data Studio BI solutions, you can access over 500 data sets to help you build ad-hoc reports and analyze your business data quickly through visualizations. Thus, it will help you gain data-rich insights for your organization.
Why did Google choose to rebrand Google Data studio as Looker Studio?
It has come as quite a surprise to many that Google is rebranding Data Studio as Looker Studio. And few people understand the reasons behind this change.
Several reasons probably drove the decision to make Google Data studio become Looker Studio. Google said that they wanted to unify all of Google’s Business Intelligence tools under one umbrella, Looker.
And because Google Data Studio is one of the main parts of Google’s BI ecosystem, it got more impact from this change. But why did they do so? Here are some possible reasons:
As we have seen, one of the main reasons for the rebranding is that Google wants to unify all Business Intelligence tools under one platform. And they had to rename Google Data Studio to reflect the change.
Earlier, Google acquired Looker. However, it wasn’t yet integrated into Google’s product ecosystem. With this change, Looker is merged into Google Cloud.
Support multiple data sources
Another reason is to help Data Studio users access multiple other data sources and deployment options. On the higher end, Looker will support more databases, cloud platforms, and workflows to give you the freedom you need.
Enhanced data security and privacy
With the integration, Google Data Studio now provides much more value to users. All while Data Studio do not compromise your data security, transparency, and privacy. Under this one platform, you will gain a more secure and governed platform that gives users a securely unified view of all your data.
Modernized BI and analytics
With the changes, users can gain modern solutions to help them access and collect in-depth, consistent data with real-time dashboards. Looker will help you to gather real-time data and deliver fresh results for your reporting.
Changes after Google Data Studio became looker studio
Visible changes in Data Studio are minimal. However, Looker Studio introduced several changes behind the hood. Here are some of those changes:
Looker connector introduced
Looker Studio now includes a public preview for the Looker connector. This connector allows Data Studio users to gain near Looker experience within the platform.
Additionally, you will get access to a governed data layer from Looker through this connector while you enjoy the BI self-serve capabilities within the Studio at no extra charge.
Looker model representation
Integrating Looker into Google Data Studio necessitates changes for representing the Looker models in the Studio. These changes include Looker Studio’s support for field hierarchies. Field hierarchies organize your data and support Views, Group Labels, and Dimension Groups.
Also, field descriptions are more surfaced in Looker Studio to provide easier access. These field descriptions allow users to check description information quickly in several places within the Looker Studio.
Looker Studio Pro
On the commercial front, Google introduced Looker Studio Pro, a paid version of Looker Studio. This paid version allows you to use all of Looker Studio’s features with enhanced enterprise capabilities. Additionally, this pro version includes scalable and flexible customer support services for its users.
Looker Studio Pro also introduces team workspaces and Google Cloud project linking, so you can access and manage your reports and data sources at scale. Team members can access content and manage them according to their assigned roles.
With Google Cloud project linking, your organization owns the assets. The organization manages these assets through a linked Google Cloud project.
That means individual users will not own the content, and your organization’s critical assets will continue to work even without their creators.
Users are now required to provide their credentials to view the data in your reports, meaning there will be no pass-through authentication.
Also, downloading data or scheduling emails from your data sources in Looker Studio is not allowed currently. So, if you need to export your data, it won’t be possible for now, but that might change in the future.
Google Account Linking
Google Account linking allows users to link Looker instances to a Google Account. Thus, they will enjoy intuitive experiences managing their linked accounts from Looker Studio.
Bad aggregation prevented
To prevent bad aggregation in Looker Studio, Google introduced changes that improve re-aggregation to provide better BI and data analytics experiences.
Advantages of using the new Looker Studio
The following are some of the advantages that come with integrating Looker into Google Data Studio:
Report consistency is crucial for every BI experience to become great. And with Looker’s semantic modelling service, you can access reliable metrics that provide truthful data that you can use to make informed decisions.
Additionally, your changes in Looker Studio do not propagate back to the Looker model, where your data is centrally defined in one Git, version-controlled model. Thus, it guarantees data freshness and reliability for all your Business Intelligence needs.
Amazing BI experiences
Unifying BI and data analytics tools under one platform is probably one of the most beautiful features that provide convenience for even better user experiences. Thus, it delivers new and relevant data that enhance your reports in Google Data Studio.
Smart operational workflows
Looker Studio simplifies your workflows with integrated insights, making your reports accessible wherever and whenever it is needed. Now, users can act on their data without switching applications. Moreover, Looker’s integration into Google Data Studio does not stop the support for all cloud data management systems like Amazon Redshift, Snowflake, and Microsoft SQL Server.
Increased enterprise capabilities
Having brought Looker’s capabilities to the platform, Looker Studio allows enterprises to access improved capabilities that uniquely address their BI and analytics demands. When you bring governed and self-served data together, enterprises find it easy to develop solutions that address their toughest challenges while retaining control over their data.
Improved communication and collaboration
Integration with Google Chat and spaces makes it easy to deliver data insights to others. This integration fuels data-driven collaboration and communication to allow informed decisions within teams. Also, Looker will soon be available on Gmail to help you share your Looker reports with just a click.
These changes to Google Data Studio can be quite surprising to you if you’ve been an avid user of the Studio. So, we hope that this article cleared the air if you had doubts about the impact of these changes on your business.
Thankfully, there have been fewer changes that can affect your previous experiences on the new Looker Studio. The changes are crucial to Looker users and those who seek to streamline their governed data on this self-serve platform.
In any event, the change means that Google Data Studio has now become Looker Studio.
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