Google Looker

Google Looker vs Excel: A Comparative Analysis

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    Comparing Google Looker and Excel is essential for businesses seeking the right tools for data analysis and reporting. Both platforms offer unique features and capabilities that cater to different business intelligence needs.

    While Excel has been a longstanding favorite for its spreadsheet functionalities, Google Looker provides a robust data exploration interface for in-depth analytics. Understanding their strengths and limitations is key to making an informed decision.

    This page will delve into the specifics of Google Looker and Excel, and introduce how Sourcetable offers a contemporary solution with a spreadsheet-like experience that integrates seamlessly with your data, standing as an alternative for business intelligence tasks.

    Google Looker

    What is Google Looker?

    Google Looker is a business intelligence platform that is part of the Google Cloud product suite. As a self-service and governed BI platform, it provides tools for users to access, analyze, and act on their data.

    • Core Features

    • Delivers data experiences by allowing users to build custom applications with trusted metrics.
    • Enables interaction with business data through an in-platform chat feature.
    • Employs generative AI to help build data-powered applications.
    • Integration capabilities allow Looker modeling to be used with existing BI environments.
    • Accessibility and Usage

      Available in the cloud, Google Looker facilitates a flexible and scalable approach to handling business analytics, catering to a range of data management needs.


    What is Excel?

    Excel is a spreadsheet program developed by Microsoft. It is a key component of the Microsoft Office product group. Designed to work seamlessly with other applications within the Office suite, Excel offers a versatile platform for data formatting, organization, and calculation. Its compatibility extends across various operating systems including Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS. Excel's functionality is essential across multiple business functions such as business analysis, human resource management, operations management, and performance reporting.

    • Business Applications of Excel

    • Collecting and verifying business data
    • Data entry and storage
    • Data analysis
    • Performance reporting
    • Strategic analysis
    • Accounting and budgeting
    • Administrative and managerial tasks
    • Account management
    • Project management
    • Office administration
    • Excel in Business Management

      Excel is widely used for various management and administrative tasks. Its tools aid in the efficient handling of accounting, budgeting, and account management. In addition, it serves as a fundamental tool for project management and general office administration.

    Google Looker

    Google Looker Features

    Business Intelligence Capabilities

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

    Data Access and Integration

    Looker can access data from multiple clouds and is integrated with Looker Studio. It is a core product within the Google Cloud portfolio and is available as a Google Cloud service, fully integrated with the Google Cloud console.

    Data Modeling and Management

    Looker utilizes LookML, a SQL-based modeling language, allowing analysts to centrally manage business rules and definitions. Its data model is governed by Git version control.

    Reporting and Dashboards

    The tool simplifies the creation of reports and dashboards, enhancing insights in the user's workflow.

    Extensibility and APIs

    Looker offers robust APIs and prebuilt integrations, allowing for proactive insights and customization.


    Excel Function Overview

    Function Categories and Accessibility

    Excel offers a vast collection of functions, exceeding 10,000 in number, which are organized into 7 primary categories. Users can browse through these categories or utilize the Ctrl+F shortcut to search for functions by typing the beginning letters or relevant keywords.

    Function Types

    Functions in Excel are designed for a variety of purposes, including cube-related calculations, database management, date and time operations, engineering calculations, and statistical analysis.

    Financial Functions

    Excel includes functions for financial calculations such as interest (ACCRINT, ACCRINTM), depreciation (AMORDEGRC, AMORLINC, DB, DDB), and investment analysis (FV, FVSCHEDULE, INTRATE, IRR, MIRR, NPER, NPV).

    Forecasting Functions

    With the evolution of Excel's forecasting capabilities, functions like FORECAST.LINEAR and FORECAST.ETS provide advanced time series forecasting, including the ability to generate confidence intervals and assess seasonality.

    Web and Text Functions

    Although web functions are unavailable in Excel for the web, Excel's desktop version includes a variety of web and text-related functions, such as ARRAYTOTEXT, BAHTTEXT, CHAR, CLEAN, CODE, CONCAT, EXACT, and FIXED.

    Discrepancies Across Platforms

    It is important to note that Excel functions may yield different results on various platforms, which can affect data analysis and outcomes.

    Google Looker

    Advantages of Google Looker for Business Intelligence

    Data Exploration and Visualization

    Google Looker Studio Pro enables efficient data exploration, allowing users to answer business questions promptly. It simplifies building visualizations, aiding in the comprehension of complex data sets.

    Collaboration and Sharing

    The platform enhances team collaboration through content management and dashboard sharing features, crucial for medium and large enterprises.

    Enterprise Support

    Users benefit from enterprise-level support, ensuring minimal downtime and assistance for sophisticated business intelligence tasks.

    Enterprise Capabilities

    Designed for scalability, Looker Studio Pro supports the demands of large-scale environments, providing robust capabilities tailored for enterprise needs.

    Google Looker

    Disadvantages of Google Looker for Business Intelligence

    Google Looker, while popular for data analytics, presents several disadvantages for users seeking to leverage business intelligence capabilities. These cons can impact the effectiveness and efficiency of data-driven decision-making processes.

    Connectivity and Integration Challenges

    Users have experienced difficulties with connectivity, specifically in migrating data from AWS to BigQuery, which has been described as painful. This can hinder seamless integration and data management.

    User Experience and Performance Issues

    Performance concerns arise with Google Looker, notably when handling multiple graphs on a single page, leading to a slow and laggy experience. This can delay insights and impede the reporting process.

    Complexity and Usability

    The platform's steep learning curve and lack of intuitive design make it challenging for new users to adapt, resulting in an expensive and time-consuming onboarding process. Additionally, a complicated sharing mechanism complicates collaborative efforts.

    Access and Security Concerns

    Stringent security measures have led to heavily restricted access by security teams, which can limit user capabilities and delay workflows.

    Limited Support Resources

    There is a notable scarcity of easily accessible training materials and documentation, which are crucial for learning and troubleshooting, further complicating the user experience.

    Google Looker

    Frequently Asked Questions About Google Looker

    When is Looker Support available?

    Looker Support is available 24/7 in English. For Japanese language support, it's available from 9:00 AM JST to 5:00 PM JST, Monday through Friday, and from 5:00 PM JST to 9:00 AM JST, Monday through Saturday, including weekends and holidays.

    Can I receive support for any version of Looker?

    Looker Support is available only on Looker instances running an officially supported Looker version. Customer-hosted instances must update to a supported version to receive support.

    How do Looker instances update to supported releases?

    Instances hosted by Looker automatically update to supported releases. Customer-hosted instances need to manually update to remain on a supported version.

    What do I need to do to get Looker Support for my Looker (original) instance?

    For Looker (original) instances, you need to have the Google Cloud Project number filled in on the Admin General Settings page to receive Looker Support.

    Who is eligible to receive Looker Support?

    Looker Support is 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 a quote-to-revenue platform


    Advantages of Using Excel for Business Intelligence

    Data Management and Analysis

    Excel's strong data management capabilities streamline the organization and manipulation of data, critical for business intelligence. Its functions support diverse data tasks, simplifying the process of analyzing large datasets to extract actionable insights.

    Reporting and Decision Making

    Excel enhances reporting efficiency through its ability to perform complex calculations and automate tasks. This facilitates the creation of detailed reports that inform strategic decision-making.

    Visualization and Collaboration

    With Excel's chart and graph creation tools, users can visualize data trends and patterns. This, coupled with its collaboration features, allows for effective sharing and discussion of data-driven insights across teams.

    Automation and Integration

    Excel's automation features reduce manual effort in repetitive tasks, boosting productivity. Additionally, its capability to handle various data types and sources aids in integrating business intelligence processes into a single platform.


    Disadvantages of Using Excel for Business Intelligence

    Excel's limitations in collaboration hinder real-time data sharing and updates, which is crucial for dynamic business intelligence (BI) processes.


    Frequently Asked Questions About Excel

    Does Excel offer any assistance to help learn formulas and tips?

    Yes, Excel offers live coaching to help you learn formulas, tips and more.

    Are there any pre-made templates in Excel to help with my work?

    Yes, Excel has templates that you can use to streamline your work.

    Can I ask questions about my data in Excel without using formulas?

    Yes, Excel has a feature that allows you to ask questions about your data without writing formulas.

    Is Excel 2013 still supported by Microsoft?

    No, support for Excel 2013 has ended.

    What should I do now that support for Excel 2013 has ended?

    You should upgrade to Microsoft 365 since end of support for Excel 2013 means it's time to upgrade.

    Use Cases for Excel

    • Excel

      Financial Forecasting

    • Excel

      Sales Analysis

    • Excel

      Inventory Management

    • Excel

      Customer Data Analysis

    • Excel

      Performance Reporting


    Why Sourcetable is a Superior Choice for Business Intelligence

    • Simplified Reporting and Analytics

      Sourcetable streamlines the process of reporting and data analytics by centralizing data from various services into a user-friendly spreadsheet interface. Unlike Google Looker, which offers various BI capabilities, Sourcetable provides a straightforward approach for businesses that may find Looker's features overwhelming.

    • Enhanced Data Synchronization

      While Looker allows for robust data access and analysis, Sourcetable excels in synchronizing data across multiple platforms directly into a familiar spreadsheet format. This reduces the learning curve associated with more complex systems like Looker and Excel.

    • User-Friendly Interface

      The spreadsheet-like interface of Sourcetable offers a more accessible option for those accustomed to traditional spreadsheet programs. Unlike the embedded analytics and data modeling provided by Looker, Sourcetable's interface is intuitively designed for ease of use.

    • Efficient Data Management

      Sourcetable's approach to BI is designed for efficient data management, making it more suitable for businesses looking for a lean and agile alternative to the expansive feature set of Google Looker and the manual complexity of Excel.

    Google Looker

    Comparing Google Looker and Excel

    Data Analysis Capabilities

    Both Google Looker and Excel allow users to access, analyze, and act on data. They provide platforms for organizing and interpreting data sets to support business decisions.

    Business Intelligence

    Google Looker and Excel can be utilized for organizational and self-service business intelligence, helping users to understand trends and make data-driven decisions.

    Custom Applications

    Looker and Excel enable the creation of custom workflows and applications, though Looker's capabilities are geared towards data-powered applications while Excel focuses on spreadsheet-based solutions.

    Google Looker

    Google Looker vs. Excel

    Business Intelligence Capabilities

    Google Looker is a business intelligence platform that provides a more robust set of BI tools compared to Excel. Looker offers governed and self-service BI, enabling both controlled and flexible data analysis. Excel, while versatile, primarily functions as a spreadsheet tool and lacks the advanced BI features inherent to Looker.

    Data-Powered Applications

    Looker allows users to build data-powered applications, whereas Excel is not designed for this purpose. Looker's platform can be used to create interactive applications that leverage real-time data, which is beyond Excel's capabilities.

    Generative AI and Advanced Analytics

    Google Looker includes a generative AI feature that is not available in Excel. This allows for more advanced data analysis and predictive modeling within Looker, while Excel's functionalities are more limited to traditional data processing and visualization.

    Embedded Analytics

    Looker can be utilized for embedded analytics applications and data modeling, offering a seamless integration with other applications. Excel, on the other hand, does not naturally support embedded analytics, making Looker a more suitable option for these use cases.

    Collaboration and Workflows

    Looker supports the building of workflows and applications that can enhance collaboration and operational efficiency. In contrast, while Excel does offer collaboration features, it is not specifically tailored for workflow creation or application development.

    Interactivity with Data

    Users can chat with business data in Looker, an interactive feature that Excel does not offer. This conversational approach to data analysis in Looker can streamline the decision-making process.


    Comparison: Google Looker, Excel, and Sourcetable


    Google Looker is a business intelligence platform that offers self-service and governed BI, data-powered applications, and generative AI features. It is used for accessing, analyzing, and acting on data, delivering trusted data experiences, and embedding analytics and data models into applications.

    Excel is a spreadsheet application with capabilities for data analysis and visualization but lacks native business intelligence features. It does not inherently offer governed BI, data application building, or generative AI features.

    Sourcetable combines spreadsheet functionality with database capabilities, allowing for data analysis and visualization. While it facilitates data collaboration, it does not specifically mention the provision of governed BI or generative AI features.

    Use Cases

    Google Looker can be used for organizational and self-service BI, embedding analytics in applications, data modeling, building workflows, and chatting with business data.

    Excel is typically used for ad hoc analysis and reporting, with a strong focus on manual data manipulation and individual productivity rather than embedded or self-service BI.

    Sourcetable is used for collaborative data tasks, merging spreadsheet usability with database functions, likely catering to a middle ground between Looker's BI focus and Excel's individual data handling.

    Business Intelligence

    Google Looker specializes in business intelligence, providing tools for both organizational and self-service BI, with features that support building data-powered applications and workflows.

    Excel, while widely used for data analysis, does not specialize in BI and requires additional tools or services for full BI capabilities.

    Sourcetable does not explicitly position itself as a BI tool but offers some capabilities that support data analysis and visualization which are essential to business intelligence.

    Integration and Data Modeling

    Google Looker offers embedded analytics and data modeling, allowing integration within other applications and the creation of data models directly in the platform.

    Excel provides basic data modeling features but lacks the sophisticated embedded analytics capabilities that Looker offers.

    Sourcetable integrates database and spreadsheet features, enabling data modeling and analysis but does not specifically mention embedding these within other applications.


    Frequently Asked Questions About Sourcetable

    What is Sourcetable and who typically uses it?

    Sourcetable is a spreadsheet application that allows users to access data from most 3rd party applications and build live models that automatically update. It is designed to replace workflows done in Excel, Google Sheets, and Business Intelligence tools. Growth teams and business operations folks typically use Sourcetable.

    How often does Sourcetable sync data and how does it vary by plan?

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

    Do users need to know how to code to use Sourcetable?

    No, coding is not required to use Sourcetable.

    How much does Sourcetable cost and are there any trial periods available?

    Sourcetable costs $50 per month on the starter plan and $250 per month on the pro plan. All plans have a 14-day free trial period.

    Can you add additional users to Sourcetable and how much does it cost?

    Yes, you can add additional seats to Sourcetable for $20 per month per seat.

    Google Looker

    Google Looker Pricing Structure

    • Platform and User Pricing Components

      Looker's pricing model is comprised of two components: platform pricing and user pricing. Platform pricing refers to the cost associated with running a Looker instance, which includes administration, integrations, and semantic modeling capabilities. User pricing is determined by licensing individual users for access to the Looker platform.

    • Cost Variability

      The cost for Looker varies depending on the type of user and the level of permissions assigned within the platform. Each instance of Looker is linked to a billing account, which is charged for new instances and additional named users.

    • Platform Editions and Subscription Terms

      Looker offers three platform editions: Standard, Enterprise, and Embed. The pricing for each edition is influenced by user types and permissions. Subscriptions can be purchased for one, two, or three-year terms.

    • License Types

    • Developer User
    • Standard User
    • Viewer User

    Excel Cost Overview

    Excel is a versatile spreadsheet software that runs on multiple operating systems. It supports Windows 11, Windows 10, and macOS. Excel's functionality includes the ability to share and collaboratively edit spreadsheets in real-time. However, sharing spreadsheets requires the use of OneDrive. The cost of Excel may vary depending on the chosen licensing model and the need for OneDrive for real-time collaboration.

    Google Looker

    User Feedback on Google Looker

    • General Sentiment

      Google Looker is recognized as a business intelligence (BI) and analytics platform.

    • Negative Reviews

      Some users have expressed dissatisfaction, labeling Looker as the worst reporting tool available.

    • Concerns about performance, with users finding the platform slow.
    • Reports of bugs causing frustration among users.
    • Interface considered unintuitive by certain users.
    • Comparative Analysis

      Comparisons with other BI tools indicate a preference for alternatives.

    • Free products like Data Studio are favored over Looker.
    • Paid products such as Tableau are often considered superior.
    • Reviews and ratings are based on user testimonials and have not been attributed to specific sources.


    User Reviews and Ratings of Microsoft Excel

    Microsoft Excel has received a high overall rating of 4.8 out of 5 from users. This rating is based on the feedback of 18.9K individuals who have reviewed the software.

    • Value for Money

      Users rate Excel 4.8 out of 5 in terms of value for money, indicating satisfaction with the cost relative to the benefits provided by the software.

    • Ease of Use

      With a 4.8 out of 5 rating on ease of use, users find Excel to be user-friendly and accessible for various tasks.

    • Features

      The features of Excel also receive a 4.8 out of 5 rating, suggesting that users are pleased with the capabilities of the software.

    • Customer Support

      Excel's customer support is rated at 4.8 out of 5, reflecting positive user experiences with the assistance provided by the Microsoft team.

    • Likelihood to Recommend

      The likelihood of users recommending Excel is high, with a score of 9.13 out of 10.

    • User-Identified Strengths

    • Excel is praised for its ability to track progress effectively.
    • It is also recognized as a powerful tool for analyzing data.
    • Users note that Excel aids in staying organized.
    • Its ease of use is frequently mentioned, making it a suitable option even for kids in school.
    • Areas for Improvement

    • One downside noted by users is that Excel does not readily integrate with other information systems.
    • Also, Excel is described as being insensitive to human errors, which can be problematic.
    • The reviews and ratings are sourced from user feedback on the software's performance and usability.


    In summarizing, Google Looker and Excel serve different needs in business intelligence. Looker offers powerful data exploration and is integrated with the Google Cloud Platform, while Excel is widely used for its spreadsheet capabilities and simplicity.

    For a more streamlined business intelligence experience, Sourcetable may be considered, as it offers real-time data syncing across various services within an easy-to-use, spreadsheet-like interface.

    This real-time integration can potentially save time and reduce complexity for users accustomed to the spreadsheet format, yet in need of advanced data syncing capabilities.

    Simplify Your BI Tooling

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