Google Looker

Google Looker vs Airtable: A Comparative Analysis

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    Choosing the right business intelligence tool is crucial for effective reporting and data analytics. Google Looker and Airtable are both popular options, each with unique features tailored to different business needs.

    Google Looker offers deep data exploration capabilities and a powerful modeling language, while Airtable provides a user-friendly interface with spreadsheet-like functionalities and database capabilities.

    In this comparison, we will delve into the key differences between the two platforms. Additionally, we'll explore how Sourcetable offers a modernized, spreadsheet-like interface that syncs with your data, serving as a potential alternative for your business intelligence tasks.

    Google Looker

    What is Google Looker?

    Google Looker is a business intelligence platform that enables users to access, analyze, and act on their data. As a product of Google Cloud, it provides a self-service and governed environment for data management.

    • Key Features

    • Delivers data experiences to users by allowing them to build custom applications with trusted metrics.
    • Offers the ability to chat with business data, enhancing interactive data exploration.
    • Facilitates the use of generative AI to develop data-powered applications.
    • Integrates with the existing BI environment through Looker modeling.
    • Operates fully in the cloud, ensuring availability and scalability.
    • Accessibility

      Google Looker is available as a cloud service, providing users with a platform to manage and interact with their data through the internet.


    What is Airtable?

    Airtable is a platform favored by a wide range of teams, with over 450,000 organizations utilizing its capabilities for their operations.

    Google Looker

    Google Looker Features

    Business Intelligence Capabilities

    Looker is a BI tool offering enterprise-class business intelligence capabilities. It enables a real-time view of data that is fresh, consistent, and governed.

    Data Management

    Looker enhances data management by using LookML to define and manage business rules and definitions centrally. Git version control is embedded for robust data modeling.

    Integration and Accessibility

    As a core Google Cloud product, Looker is integrated within the Google Cloud console, providing easy access to multiple cloud data sources and seamless connection with other Google Cloud services.

    Analytics and Visualization

    Looker facilitates proactive insights and simplifies report and dashboard creation. Users can connect to Looker's semantic model to analyze and visualize data with Looker Studio.

    Connectivity and Extensibility

    With robust APIs and prebuilt integrations, Looker extends its functionality and simplifies embedding insights into daily workflows.


    Airtable Key Features

    Platform Scalability

    Airtable scales with organizational growth, ensuring that increased demand does not compromise performance.

    Custom Business Apps

    Users can drive results with custom apps tailored to their business needs, enhancing productivity.

    No-Code App Development

    Powerful apps can be built and connected seamlessly without the need for coding expertise.

    Artificial Intelligence

    Airtable's AI capabilities facilitate the analysis and organization of workflows, streamlining information management.

    Data Centralization

    A single source of truth is established, simplifying data access and reliability across teams.

    Data Accuracy

    Teams receive verified data, mitigating risks and ensuring integrity in decision-making processes.

    Team Efficiency

    Even as operations scale, Airtable maintains team efficiency without slowdowns.

    Integration Options

    Essential tools like Jira, Salesforce, and Tableau integrate with Airtable, offering extended functionality.

    Versatile Use Cases

  • Marketing optimization is supported.
  • Product operations are streamlined.
  • It can function as an adaptable CRM.
  • Flexibility Over Spreadsheets

    Airtable provides more flexibility than traditional spreadsheets, facilitating complex data manipulation and visualization.

    Plan Options

    Both paid and Enterprise plans are available to accommodate different user needs and organizational sizes.

    Google Looker

    Advantages of Google Looker for Business Intelligence

    Data Exploration and Visualization

    Looker Studio Pro enables efficient data exploration, allowing users to answer complex business questions. Its visualization capabilities help in building insightful dashboards that can be shared across the organization.

    Enterprise Capabilities

    Designed for medium and large enterprises, Looker Studio Pro offers advanced features that cater to extensive data management and analysis needs, supporting robust business intelligence tasks.

    Team Content Management

    Looker Studio Pro facilitates effective management of team content, streamlining collaboration and ensuring that team members have access to the most relevant and current data insights.

    Enterprise Support Access

    Users benefit from access to enterprise-grade support, ensuring any issues can be promptly resolved, and the system remains efficient for reporting and analytics.

    Team Collaboration and Sharing

    The tool is well-suited for team collaboration, offering features that make it easy to share dashboards and insights, thus enhancing decision-making processes across the enterprise.

    Google Looker

    Disadvantages of Using Google Looker for Business Intelligence

    Integration and Connectivity Issues

    Users experience a lack of connectivity options which can hinder seamless integration with existing systems. Migrating data, especially from AWS to BigQuery, has been described as painful.

    Complex Sharing and Onboarding

    The sharing mechanism within Looker is complicated, making collaboration more difficult. Additionally, onboarding is notably expensive, adding to the total cost of ownership.

    User Experience Challenges

    Several performance issues affect the user experience. Users report that the platform is slow, not very intuitive, and experiences lag, particularly when displaying many graphs on a single page.

    Learning and Documentation

    There is a steep learning curve to effectively use Looker, which can deter new users. Moreover, training materials and documentation are not easily accessible, potentially delaying proficiency.

    Security Restrictions

    The security team's stringent access controls can overly restrict data accessibility, complicating the user's ability to perform BI tasks effectively.

    Google Looker

    Frequently Asked Questions About Google Looker

    What are the hours for Looker Support in Japanese?

    Support is available from 9:00 AM JST – 5:00 PM JST, Monday – Friday, and from 5:00 PM JST – 9:00 AM JST, Monday – Saturday, including weekends and holidays for Japanese language.

    Can I receive support for any version of Looker?

    Looker Support is available only on Looker instances running an officially supported Looker version.

    How do instances hosted by Looker get updated to supported releases?

    Instances hosted by Looker automatically update to supported releases.

    What should I do if my customer-hosted instance is running an unsupported Looker version?

    Customer-hosted instances running an unsupported Looker version must update to a supported Looker version to receive Looker Support.

    Who is eligible for Looker Support?

    Looker Support is only available to users with the Tech Support Editor IAM role, and to administrators and developers on instances using Legacy Support.

    Use Cases for Google Looker

    • Google Looker

      Reducing client report time

    • Google Looker

      Modernizing business intelligence

    • Google Looker

      Embedding analytics in platforms


    Advantages of Airtable for Business Intelligence

    Using Airtable for reporting and data analytics offers streamlined compatibility across major browsers. This compatibility ensures reliable access to BI tools.


    Disadvantages of Using Airtable for Business Intelligence

    No information available about Airtable cons.


    Frequently Asked Questions About Airtable

    How do I get started with Airtable?

    The FAQ section on Airtable's website provides comprehensive information on getting started, including setting up your account and creating your first base.

    Can I manage permissions in Airtable?

    Yes, Airtable's FAQ contains guidelines on managing permissions to control access and editing rights for different users.

    How can I integrate Airtable with other apps?

    Airtable offers information on integrating with other apps in its FAQ, allowing users to connect their bases with a variety of services and applications.

    Is it possible to automate redundant tasks in Airtable?

    The FAQ provides insights on how to automate redundant tasks in Airtable, enhancing efficiency and productivity.

    What should I do if I encounter issues with Airtable?

    For troubleshooting any issues with Airtable, refer to the troubleshooting section in the FAQ for potential solutions and steps.

    Use Cases for Airtable

    • Airtable

      Project management

    • Airtable

      Coordinating launches

    • Airtable

      Planning new features


    Comparing Sourcetable with Google Looker and Airtable for Business Intelligence

    • Simplicity and User Interface

      Sourcetable offers a more straightforward approach to business intelligence by providing a spreadsheet-like interface that many users find familiar. This contrasts with the more complex interfaces of platforms like Google Looker, which may require a steeper learning curve for building data-powered applications and accessing BI tools.

    • Data Integration and Syncing

      One of Sourcetable's key advantages is its ability to sync data across various services seamlessly. Unlike Google Looker, which focuses on embedded analytics and data modeling, Sourcetable simplifies the consolidation of data for reporting and analytics, making it more accessible for users who need to manage data from multiple sources.

    • Self-Service and Governed BI

      While Google Looker offers both self-service and governed BI, Sourcetable's emphasis on a user-friendly spreadsheet interface may provide a more intuitive self-service experience for users who are not as technically skilled in BI tools.

    • Reporting and Analytics

      The ease of reporting with Sourcetable is a notable benefit. The platform's design for syncing and analyzing data within a familiar spreadsheet format can streamline the reporting process, potentially offering a more efficient solution compared to the data modeling and analysis capabilities of Google Looker and Airtable.

    Google Looker

    Comparing Google Looker and Airtable

    Business Intelligence Features

    Both Google Looker and Airtable allow users to access, analyze, and act on data, facilitating business intelligence tasks. They provide platforms for organizations to utilize data for strategic decision-making.

    Self-Service Capabilities

    Google Looker and Airtable offer self-service features enabling end-users to handle data without extensive technical knowledge, enhancing their ability to perform self-service business intelligence.

    Data-Driven Applications

    Looker and Airtable support the creation of data-powered applications, allowing businesses to build custom workflows and applications tailored to their specific needs.

    Embedded Solutions

    Both platforms can be used for embedded analytics applications and data modeling, integrating these functionalities into existing business systems for seamless data experiences.

    Google Looker

    Differences Between Google Looker and Airtable

    Business Intelligence Capabilities

    Google Looker is primarily a business intelligence platform that offers comprehensive tools for data analysis and visualization. It provides self-service and governed BI, making it suitable for organizational business intelligence and self-service BI. In contrast, Airtable serves as a cloud collaboration service with database functionalities, focusing on spreadsheet-database hybrid systems more than advanced BI.

    Data-Powered Applications and Analytics

    Google Looker allows for the development of data-powered applications and embedded analytics, whereas Airtable's functionality is centered around enhancing collaborative work with a database-centric approach. Looker's capabilities in building workflows and applications surpass Airtable's features which are generally not tailored for complex data application development.

    Generative AI and Interactivity

    Google Looker incorporates generative AI features and provides the ability to chat with business data, expanding the interactive aspect of data analytics. Airtable does not offer such AI-driven interactivity and conversational data analysis, focusing more on the user-friendly organization and automation within its grid interface.

    Trusted Data Experiences

    Google Looker is designed to deliver trusted data experiences and is equipped for embedded data modeling, which is essential for extensive BI tasks. Airtable, while it does provide a reliable platform for data management, is not specifically tailored for delivering trusted data experiences at the same scale and depth as Looker.


    Google Looker vs Airtable with Sourcetable

    Business Intelligence and Data Analysis

    Google Looker is a dedicated business intelligence platform offering a range of BI solutions, including self-service and organizational business intelligence. Looker allows for data analysis through embedded analytics and data modeling. In contrast, Airtable functions primarily as a database and collaboration tool with some built-in reporting features, which can be expanded through its integration with Sourcetable for enhanced data analysis capabilities.

    Data-Powered Applications and Workflows

    Looker provides the tools to build data-powered applications and workflows, enabling users to act directly on data. Airtable, combined with Sourcetable, focuses on database management and collaboration, with workflows typically centered around data organization and project management rather than building applications.

    Embedded Analytics and Self-Service BI

    Both Google Looker and Airtable with Sourcetable can cater to embedded analytics needs. Looker specifically offers embedded analytics applications and data modeling, supporting self-service BI. Airtable, when used in tandem with Sourcetable, can achieve similar goals, but may require more setup and customization.

    Generative AI and Data Interactions

    Google Looker has a generative AI feature, which sets it apart from Airtable with Sourcetable. This AI capability allows users to interact with business data conversationally, potentially offering more advanced data insights. Airtable does not have a native generative AI feature, despite its strong data structuring and collaboration capabilities.

    Trusted Data Experiences and Collaboration

    Looker's focus on delivering trusted data experiences is inherent to its BI platform nature, ensuring that data governance is maintained. While Airtable, supplemented by Sourcetable, provides a collaborative environment that supports data access and reporting, it may not specifically emphasize governed BI to the same extent as Looker.


    Google Looker is a full-featured business intelligence platform tailored for comprehensive data analysis, application development, and AI-enhanced interactions. In contrast, Airtable, augmented by Sourcetable, offers a flexible database and collaboration platform with added data analysis capabilities, suitable for a variety of project management and organizational tasks.


    Frequently Asked Questions About Sourcetable

    What is Sourcetable and who typically uses it?

    Sourcetable is a spreadsheet that allows users to access data from most 3rd party applications, query data, and build live models that automatically update. It's typically used by growth teams and business operations teams.

    How does Sourcetable help with data management?

    Sourcetable replaces workflows that are typically done in Excel, Google Sheets, and Business Intelligence tools. It allows users to centralize, analyze, and model data that updates over time, without requiring any coding.

    What are the pricing options for Sourcetable?

    Sourcetable costs $50 per month for the starter plan and $250 per month for the pro plan. All plans come with a 14-day free trial.

    How often does Sourcetable sync data?

    Sourcetable syncs data from over 100 applications and most databases. Data integrations update every 15 minutes on the regular plan and every 5 minutes on the pro plan.

    Are there any additional costs for more users?

    The starter plan includes the first 5 users. Each additional seat costs $20 per month.

    Google Looker

    Google Looker Pricing Structure

    • Platform Pricing

      Google Looker's platform pricing is an essential cost for running a Looker instance. This pricing covers platform administration, integrations, and semantic modeling capabilities.

    • User Pricing

      User pricing involves licensing costs for individual users. The cost varies depending on user type and permissions.

    • Billing and Account Management

      Each Looker instance is linked to a billing account, which accumulates charges for new instances and user licenses.

    • Platform Editions

    • Standard Edition
    • Enterprise Edition
    • Embed Edition
    • Subscription Terms

      Looker offers annual subscriptions with one, two, or three-year terms.

    • License Types

    • Developer User License
    • Standard User License
    • Viewer User License

    Airtable Pricing Structure

    • Airtable Free Plan

      The Free plan is offered at no cost, designed for individuals or very small teams with basic needs.

    • Paid Plans

    • The Team plan is $20 per user per month, billed annually.
    • The Business plan costs $45 per user per month, billed annually.
    • Enterprise Scale plan has custom pricing.
    • Additional Plan Features

      Business and Enterprise Scale plans include advanced features for customization, scalability, and administration.

    • Billing Policy

      All plans are billed on a per-seat basis. Users with edit permissions are billable on Team and Business plans. Charges are prorated for mid-month additions.

    Google Looker

    User Reviews of Google Looker

    • General Sentiment

      Looker is recognized as a business intelligence (BI) and analytics platform. Reviews from some users suggest it is considered the worst reporting tool available.

    • Common Complaints

    • Performance issues with reports of the platform being slow.
    • Users encounter bugs that hinder their experience.
    • The platform is often described as unintuitive.
    • Comparisons with Other Tools

      Users favor other free and paid products over Looker, with specific mentions of Data Studio and Tableau as superior alternatives.


    Airtable User Reviews

    Reviews of Airtable reflect its reputation as a relational database tool that doubles as an online collaboration platform. Independent editorial reviews, such as those from PCMag editors, provide insights into the functionality and user experience of Airtable.

    • Usability and Versatility

      Users praise Airtable for its ease of use and versatility. It accommodates a range of applications from work management to event planning and inventory tracking. Its broad utility makes it a popular choice for diverse purposes.

    • Plans and Pricing

      The free version of Airtable is acknowledged for allowing users to manage up to 1,200 records with 2GB of space, but it is also noted that this plan is limited to 100 automation runs per month. The Plus plan, at $12 per person per month, removes limits on databases and collaborators and increases automation runs to 5,000 per month. The Pro plan, at $24 per person per month, significantly expands records, storage, and automation runs. For larger organizations, the Enterprise plan offers further scalability.

    • Integrations and Connectivity

      Airtable's capacity for over 50 app integrations, with more than 100 automation triggers, receives positive feedback. Users appreciate the ability to connect to apps via Zapier or IFTTT and utilize an API for additional connections.

    • Monetization Disclosure

      It is important to note that reviewers may earn commissions from affiliate links, indicating that there is a financial incentive tied to the product recommendations.


    In comparing Google Looker and Airtable, we observe that Looker provides robust data exploration capabilities suitable for deep analytical tasks, while Airtable offers a more user-friendly platform with flexible database and project management features.

    For businesses requiring advanced data analysis and visualization, Google Looker may be the preferred choice due to its comprehensive toolset.

    Conversely, Airtable is optimal for teams seeking a blend of simplicity and collaboration within a database-driven environment.

    Sourcetable enters the scene as an alternative that simplifies business intelligence, offering real-time data syncing across services in an accessible spreadsheet format.

    Simplify Your BI Tooling

    Sourcetable is the AI spreadsheet that lets you analyze your data in one place. Get unlimited access free for 14 days.