Google Looker
tool icon

Google Looker vs Looker Studio: A Comparative Analysis

Jump to


    Choosing the right business intelligence tool is crucial for effective data analysis and reporting. Google Looker and Looker Studio are two prominent options, each with its unique features and use cases.

    While Google Looker offers extensive data modeling capabilities, Looker Studio (formerly Google Data Studio) provides user-friendly data visualization tools. It's important to understand their differences to select the best fit for your organization's needs.

    In this comparison, we'll delve into the specifics of both platforms and highlight how Sourcetable can serve as a streamlined alternative with its modernized, spreadsheet-like interface that syncs with your data, ideal for business intelligence tasks.

    Google Looker

    What is Google Looker?

    Google Looker is a business intelligence platform that is a product of Google Cloud. It provides a self-service and governed environment for users to access, analyze, and act on their data. Looker supports the development of custom applications with trusted metrics, offering a robust solution for delivering data experiences.

    • Capabilities

    • Enables analysis and interaction with business data through a chat interface.
    • Integrates generative AI to assist in building data-powered applications.
    • Operates fully in the cloud, ensuring accessibility and scalability.
    • Allows the use of Looker modeling within existing BI environments.
    • Benefits

    • Facilitates the creation of custom applications utilizing reliable metrics.
    • Enhances data experiences for users through its comprehensive platform.
    tool icon

    What is Looker Studio?

    Looker Studio is a web-based tool designed for creating interactive reports and dashboards. It facilitates data visualization and business intelligence by allowing users to connect to a variety of data sources through its connectors.

    • Key Features

    • Web-based reporting tool available for use at no cost.
    • Interactive report and dashboard creation capabilities.
    • Integration with various data sources via built-in and partner connectors.
    • Developer platform for customization and extension.
    Google Looker

    Google Looker Features

    Business Intelligence Capabilities

    Looker is a robust business intelligence (BI) tool that facilitates a real-time, governed view of data. It delivers enterprise-class business intelligence and simplifies the creation of reports and dashboards.

    Data Modeling and Management

    With LookML, Looker's SQL-based modeling language, analysts can define and manage business rules centrally. The model is maintained with Git version control for consistency and collaboration.

    Integration and Accessibility

    Looker is fully integrated within the Google Cloud console, making it a core product of the Google Cloud service portfolio. It provides insights within the workflows where users operate and has prebuilt integrations for extended functionality.

    Cloud Infrastructure and Services

    Built on Google Cloud infrastructure, Looker is available as a service on the cloud. It can access data across multiple clouds, ensuring flexibility in data analysis.

    Proactive Insights and Visualization

    Looker enables proactive insights and integrates with Looker Studio for advanced data exploration and visualization. Its robust APIs allow for customization and extension of its capabilities.

    tool icon

    Looker Studio Features Overview

    Self-Service Business Intelligence

    Looker Studio serves as a self-service business intelligence tool, empowering users to analyze data with minimal technical expertise.

    Data Visualization and Reporting

    Users can generate reports and data visualizations, enhancing the comprehension and presentation of data insights.

    Data Source Connectivity

    With the ability to connect to over 800 data sources, Looker Studio integrates a wide range of data for comprehensive analysis.

    Real-Time Sharing and Collaboration

    Looker Studio enables real-time dashboard sharing, facilitating collaborative data-driven decision-making.

    Web Embedding of Reports

    Reports can be seamlessly embedded on the web, extending the reach of data insights to larger audiences.

    Intuitive User Interface

    The platform's drag and drop interface simplifies the creation of custom reports and dashboards.

    Templates and Connectors

  • Looker Studio provides report templates for quick setup and deployment.
  • Data connectors streamline integration with various data sources.
  • API and Advanced Features

    The Looker Studio API and report embedding feature support advanced customization and integration with other applications.

    Google Looker

    Advantages of Google Looker for Business Intelligence

    Data Exploration and Visualization

    Looker Studio Pro enables efficient data exploration and the building of visualizations, aiding in the answering of business queries. This supports informed decision-making through clear data representation.

    Enterprise-Level Features

    With enterprise capabilities, Looker Studio Pro is adept at managing large-scale data environments, which is crucial for medium to large businesses requiring robust data handling.

    Collaboration and Sharing

    Looker Studio Pro enhances team collaboration through content management features and simplifies sharing insights with its dashboard functionalities, fostering a collaborative data-driven culture.

    Support and Environment Management

    Users gain access to enterprise support, ensuring reliable assistance for complex business intelligence tasks and environment management suitable for enterprise needs.

    Google Looker

    Disadvantages of Using Google Looker

    Complex Onboarding and Learning Process

    Businesses face a steep learning curve when adopting Google Looker for reporting and data analytics. This complexity can hinder user adoption and productivity. Additionally, the onboarding process is costly, potentially impacting the overall return on investment.

    Performance Issues

    Users experience performance drawbacks, such as slow platform response and lag, especially when handling many graphs simultaneously. This can impede the efficiency of data analysis and reporting processes.

    Connectivity and Integration Challenges

    Integrating Looker with other data sources, such as migrating data from AWS to BigQuery, has been described as a painful process. The lack of seamless connectivity can create bottlenecks in data workflows.

    Access and Sharing Limitations

    Google Looker's security protocols can result in heavily restricted access, complicating the sharing of reports and dashboards. This can lead to inefficiencies and frustration among team members who need to collaborate on data insights.

    Resource Accessibility

    Training materials and documentation for Google Looker are not readily available, which can delay the learning process and impede the ability of users to leverage the platform to its full potential.

    Google Looker

    Frequently Asked Questions About Google Looker

    Is Looker Support available 24/7?

    Yes, Looker Support is available 24/7 in English.

    Can I get support in Japanese outside of normal business hours?

    Yes, support in Japanese is available from 5:00 PM JST – 9:00 AM JST, Monday – Saturday, including weekends and holidays.

    What do I need to do to receive Looker Support for my instance?

    Your instance must be running an officially supported Looker version. If hosted by Looker, it will update automatically. Customer-hosted instances must manually update to a supported version. Additionally, Looker (original) instances require a Google Cloud Project number filled in on the Admin General Settings page.

    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.

    Will I need to select a product area when submitting a support request?

    Yes, you may be prompted to choose from a product area when submitting a support request.

    Use Cases for Google Looker

    • Google Looker

      Reducing client report time

    • Google Looker

      Modernizing business intelligence systems

    • Google Looker

      Embedding analytics in a quote-to-revenue platform

    tool icon

    Advantages of Using Looker Studio for Business Intelligence

    Comprehensive Feature Set

    Looker Studio Pro encompasses all the functionalities of Looker Studio, providing a robust platform for reporting and data analytics tasks.

    Enhanced Enterprise Capabilities

    With enhanced enterprise capabilities, Looker Studio Pro caters to the complex needs of large-scale businesses.

    Reliable Technical Support

    Users benefit from dedicated technical support through Google Cloud Customer Care, ensuring efficient resolution of issues.

    Organizational Control

    Reports and data sources in Looker Studio Pro are owned by the organization, which centralizes control and management.

    Collaboration Features

  • Team workspaces facilitate the sharing of Looker Studio content among team members.
  • Automated report delivery and personal report links keep stakeholders informed and engaged.
  • Mobile Accessibility

    The mobile app enables on-the-go access to reports and data, enhancing productivity for mobile users.

    tool icon

    Disadvantages of Using Looker Studio for BI

    Data Integration and Real-Time Analysis

    Looker Studio does not support the blending of multiple data sources in a single view, limiting comprehensive data analysis. Additionally, the absence of native support for real-time data integration can hinder the ability to perform live data tracking, which is critical for timely decision-making.

    User Experience and Performance

    The user interface of Looker Studio may experience slower loading times, potentially decreasing productivity. This slower performance could impact user satisfaction and efficiency when working with large datasets or complex reports.

    Customer Support and Resource Availability

    Compared to other business intelligence tools, Looker Studio's customer support has a lower responsiveness rate. This may lead to longer downtimes and unresolved issues, affecting business operations. The platform also offers fewer report templates and has a limited number of data connectors, which restricts versatility and user options.

    Quota Limitations and Template Selection

    The quota limit imposed on GA4 API requests by Google Looker Studio may impede extensive data analysis and reporting capabilities. The restricted selection of report templates can also limit the ability to quickly deploy standardized reports, impacting reporting efficiency.

    tool icon

    Frequently Asked Questions About Looker Studio

    What is Looker Studio?

    Looker Studio is a help topic.

    How can I access Looker Studio FAQs?

    Looker Studio FAQs can be found within the help resources of Looker Studio.

    Are Looker Studio FAQs updated regularly?

    The frequency of updates for Looker Studio FAQs is not specified in the provided facts.

    Use Cases for Looker Studio

    • tool icon

      Creating reports and dashboards for data analysis

    • tool icon

      Tracking and analyzing marketing analytics

    • tool icon

      Visualizing data for client reports


    Why Sourcetable is a Superior Alternative for Business Intelligence

    • Simplified Reporting and Data Analytics

      Sourcetable offers a streamlined approach to business intelligence by consolidating data across multiple services into an intuitive spreadsheet-like interface. This simplifies the reporting process, making it more accessible than the multi-faceted platforms like Google Looker and Looker Studio.

    • User-Friendly Interface

      The spreadsheet-like interface of Sourcetable is familiar to most users, reducing the learning curve and allowing for immediate productivity improvements over more complex BI platforms such as Google Looker.

    • Data Synchronization

      With Sourcetable, users can seamlessly sync data from various sources, ensuring that all information is up-to-date and in one place. This contrasts with Google Looker's approach, which may require more steps to integrate and act on diverse data sets.

    • Streamlining Workflows

      Sourcetable's ability to centralize data management in a single, straightforward platform can streamline workflow processes, potentially offering a more efficient solution for businesses compared to the broader capabilities of Google Looker that may not always prioritize simplicity.

    Google Looker
    tool icon

    Comparing Google Looker and Looker Studio

    Business Intelligence Capabilities

    Both Google Looker and Looker Studio serve as platforms for business intelligence. They provide tools for accessing, analyzing, and acting on data within an organization.

    Self-service and Embedded Analytics

    Both platforms offer self-service business intelligence capabilities, enabling users to explore data without extensive technical expertise. They also support embedded analytics, allowing the integration of data and insights into applications.

    Data Modeling and Applications

    Google Looker and Looker Studio allow for embedded data modeling and the building of data-powered applications. This facilitates the creation of customized experiences and workflows based on data analysis.

    Data Accessibility and Trust

    The two platforms are designed to deliver trusted data experiences, ensuring that the insights generated are reliable and based on governed data. This trust is critical for making informed business decisions.

    Google Looker
    tool icon

    Google Looker vs Looker Studio

    Business Intelligence Capabilities

    Google Looker is a business intelligence platform that allows for deep data analysis and the creation of data-driven workflows and applications. Looker Studio, formerly known as Google Data Studio, provides visualization tools for converting data into reports and dashboards.

    Data Modeling and Applications

    Google Looker supports embedded data modeling and can be used to build embedded analytics applications, while Looker Studio focuses on reporting and does not offer these features.

    Self-Service and Governance

    Google Looker offers both self-service and governed BI, enabling users to have flexibility while maintaining data governance. Looker Studio primarily offers self-service BI, with less emphasis on governance.

    Generative AI and Interaction

    Google Looker includes a generative AI feature and enables users to chat with business data, providing a more interactive experience. Looker Studio does not have these capabilities.

    Data Accessibility

    Both platforms allow users to access and analyze data, but Google Looker additionally allows users to act on data through the building of data-powered applications and workflows.

    Trusted Data Experiences

    Google Looker can deliver trusted data experiences, ensuring data accuracy and security. Looker Studio's focus is on data visualization and sharing, not on managing data experiences.


    Comparison of Google Looker, Looker Studio, and Sourcetable

    Google Looker

  • Business intelligence platform with a focus on self-service and governed BI.
  • Business intelligence platform with a focus on self-service and governed BI.

  • Features a generative AI capability and supports building data-powered applications.
  • Features a generative AI capability and supports building data-powered applications.

  • Enables embedded analytics and data modeling within applications.
  • Enables embedded analytics and data modeling within applications.

  • Facilitates organizational and self-service business intelligence.
  • Facilitates organizational and self-service business intelligence.

  • Allows for the creation of workflows and applications, as well as chatting with business data.
  • Allows for the creation of workflows and applications, as well as chatting with business data.

    Looker Studio

  • Previously known as Google Data Studio, it's a dashboarding and reporting tool.
  • Previously known as Google Data Studio, it's a dashboarding and reporting tool.

  • Lacks advanced BI capabilities such as embedded analytics and data modeling found in Google Looker.
  • Lacks advanced BI capabilities such as embedded analytics and data modeling found in Google Looker.

  • Primarily focused on visualization rather than comprehensive data management.
  • Primarily focused on visualization rather than comprehensive data management.


  • A spreadsheet interface offering data integration and automation.
  • A spreadsheet interface offering data integration and automation.

  • Designed for users to create live data tables without extensive technical skills.
  • Designed for users to create live data tables without extensive technical skills.

  • Less specialized in BI compared to Google Looker, with a broader focus on data automation.
  • Less specialized in BI compared to Google Looker, with a broader focus on data automation.


    Google Looker is a more robust BI tool compared to Sourcetable, offering advanced features such as AI, embedded analytics, and data modeling. Looker Studio is more comparable to Sourcetable in terms of ease of use but lacks the deeper BI capabilities of Google Looker. Sourcetable, while user-friendly, does not offer the same level of BI specialization as Google Looker.


    Frequently Asked Questions About Sourcetable

    What is Sourcetable and who typically uses it?

    Sourcetable is a spreadsheet application that is typically used by growth teams and business operations teams. It allows users to centralize, analyze, and model data that updates over time without the need for coding.

    How does Sourcetable replace traditional tools like Excel?

    Sourcetable replaces workflows that are typically done in Excel, Google Sheets, and Business Intelligence tools by allowing users to access data from most 3rd party applications, query data, and build live models that automatically update.

    How often does Sourcetable sync data?

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

    What are the pricing details 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, and additional seats cost $20 per month per user.

    Can users without coding skills use Sourcetable?

    Yes, Sourcetable does not require any coding skills, allowing users to start creating reports and build live models within minutes.

    Google Looker

    Google Looker Cost Overview

    Google Looker pricing encompasses two main components: platform and user pricing. The platform cost is associated with the functionalities necessary to run a Looker instance, which includes platform administration, integrations, and semantic modeling capabilities. User pricing is determined by the licensing of individuals and is contingent upon user type and permissions.

    • Platform Pricing

      Platform pricing covers the operational expenses of a Looker instance. Every instance has a linked billing account where all charges, such as for new instances or additional users, are billed.

    • User Pricing

      Looker’s user pricing varies based on user types, which include Developer User, Standard User, and Viewer User, and their respective permissions.

    • Platform Editions and Subscription Terms

      Looker offers three platform editions: Standard, Enterprise, and Embed. The cost of these editions depends on user permissions and type. Subscriptions are available in one, two, and three-year terms.

    tool icon

    Looker Studio Pricing

    • Basic Version

      Looker Studio is accessible for both creators and report viewers at no cost.

    • Looker Studio Pro

    • Designed for enterprise customers requiring advanced features.
    • Enhances administrative capabilities and includes additional support.
    • Priced at $9 per user per project each month.
    • Free for creators and report viewers.
    • Available for upgrade directly via the Looker Studio website.
    Google Looker

    User Reviews of Google Looker

    • General Sentiment

      Google Looker is recognized as a business intelligence (BI) and analytics platform. It has received criticism in user reviews, with some considering it the worst reporting tool available.

    • Common Complaints

    • Performance issues such as slow response times.
    • Bugs that affect user experience.
    • Lack of intuitiveness in the platform's design.
    • Comparative Feedback

      Users have expressed a preference for alternative BI tools. Both free and paid competitors, including Data Studio and Tableau, are often cited as superior to Looker.

    tool icon

    User Reviews and Ratings of Looker Studio

    • General Sentiment

      Looker, as a business intelligence and analytics platform, has received mixed feedback from users. While it is a part of Google Cloud, its popularity seems to be contested.

    • Performance Issues

      A notable portion of users report that Looker Studio can be slow and buggy, which may hinder user experience. There are also claims about its lack of intuitiveness.

    • Comparative Analysis

      In comparison to Looker, other reporting tools such as Data Studio and Tableau are often favored. These platforms are perceived to be superior by some users.

    • Source of Reviews

      The reviews and ratings mentioned are aggregated from user feedback across various platforms where Looker Studio is discussed.


    In summary, Google Looker offers a robust, enterprise-level business intelligence solution with extensive data modeling capabilities, while Looker Studio provides a more accessible, visualization-focused tool.

    Sourcetable offers a distinct alternative by prioritizing simplicity and real-time data synchronization across services in a spreadsheet format that may be more familiar to some users.

    Businesses must consider their specific needs, technical resources, and user expertise when choosing between these platforms or opting for Sourcetable's streamlined approach.

    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.