Google Looker

Google Looker vs Python: A Comparative Guide

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    Choosing the right tool for business intelligence is crucial for data-driven decision-making. Google Looker and Python are popular options, each with unique capabilities and benefits.

    While Google Looker offers a business-focused analytics platform, Python provides flexibility with its programming capabilities for data analysis. However, both require a learning curve and technical knowledge.

    This guide will compare Google Looker and Python, highlighting their features, use cases, and limitations. Additionally, we'll explore how Sourcetable provides a modernized, spreadsheet-like interface that syncs with your data as an alternative to using Google Looker or Python for business intelligence tasks like reporting and data analytics.

    Google Looker

    What is Google Looker?

    Google Looker is a business intelligence platform that is part of the Google Cloud product suite. It enables users to access, analyze, and utilize their data for informed decision-making processes. As a self-service and governed BI platform, it offers a balance of autonomy and control.

    • Key Features

    • Interactive data exploration and delivery of data experiences.
    • Chat functionality for dynamic interaction with business data.
    • Generative AI capabilities to enhance data-powered application development.
    • Custom application building with reliable metrics.
    • Integration with existing BI environments through Looker modeling.
    • Available on the cloud, Google Looker provides a scalable solution for data management and analytics. Its ability to build tailored applications ensures that users can trust the metrics and insights generated.


    What is Python?

    Python is a high-level, general-purpose programming language recognized for its versatility and ease of use. It supports various programming paradigms and is widely utilized across different industries and fields.

    • Applications of Python

      Python's applications are diverse, ranging from web development to machine learning. It is a tool for both developers and non-developers, enabling the automation and testing of software, data analysis, and the execution of everyday tasks.

    • Users of Python

      Python's user base is extensive, comprising professionals in numerous fields. Accountants, scientists, small business owners, and social media marketers are among the non-programmers who leverage Python to streamline their workflows.

    Google Looker

    Google Looker Features

    Business Intelligence Capabilities

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

    Data Management and Integration

    Looker enables access to data across multiple clouds and simplifies the creation of reports and dashboards. It is integrated within the Google Cloud console and functions as a core product of Google Cloud.

    LookML and Data Modeling

    Looker utilizes LookML, a SQL-based modeling language, to allow analysts to centrally define and manage business rules and definitions. The data model is maintained with Git version control.

    Collaboration and Visualization

    Users can connect to Looker's semantic model to analyze, explore, and visualize data with Looker Studio, providing insights in the places you work.

    Extensibility and APIs

    Looker offers robust APIs and prebuilt integrations, enhancing its extensibility and functionality within the business ecosystem.


    Key Features of Python

    Dynamic Nature

    Python is a dynamic language, allowing runtime behavior changes and flexible variable type handling.

    High-Level Language

    As a high-level language, Python abstracts complex operations, simplifying programming tasks.

    Open Source

    Python's free open source nature encourages a collaborative approach to development and distribution.

    Readability and Simplicity

    Python's syntax prioritizes readability and simplicity, making it approachable for beginners and efficient for experienced programmers.

    Extensive Standard Library

    The language boasts a large standard library, providing a vast array of in-built functions for numerous tasks.

    Object Orientation

    Python supports object-oriented programming, promoting code reuse and modularity.

    GUI Support

    Python facilitates GUI programming, enabling the creation of user-friendly interfaces.

    Debugging Ease

    The language's simplicity also extends to debugging, making error detection and resolution more straightforward.

    Google Looker

    Advantages of Google Looker for Business Intelligence

    Comprehensive Data Exploration

    Looker Studio Pro serves as a powerful enterprise business intelligence tool, enabling in-depth data exploration and analysis. It facilitates answering complex business questions with precision.

    Enhanced Visualization and Reporting

    The platform excels in building visualizations, offering users the ability to create insightful dashboards that can be shared across teams, enhancing the reporting process.

    Enterprise-Grade Capabilities

    Designed for medium to large enterprises, Looker Studio Pro comes with robust enterprise capabilities that are essential for handling large-scale data workloads and complex analytics.

    Content Management and Team Collaboration

    With features for managing team content and supporting collaboration, Looker Studio Pro streamlines workflows and improves productivity in team-based environments.

    Reliable Support

    Users gain access to enterprise support, ensuring assistance is available for optimizing the use of Looker Studio Pro in an organization’s business intelligence tasks.

    Google Looker

    Disadvantages of Using Google Looker

    Complex Integration and Connectivity

    Lacks connectivity connection, making integration with certain data sources problematic.

    Complicated Sharing and Onboarding

    Sharing reports and dashboards is complex. Onboarding is costly, which can be a barrier for small businesses or startups.

    Steep Learning Curve

    Users face a steep learning curve and the platform is not very intuitive, which can hinder adoption and productivity.

    Performance Issues

    The platform's performance can be slow, especially when handling many graphs on a single page, leading to a laggy experience.

    Limited Accessibility to Training

    Training materials and documentation are not readily available, slowing down the upskilling process for new users.

    Data Migration Challenges

    Migrating data from AWS to BigQuery has been described as painful, which could affect businesses looking to switch to Looker.

    Restrictive Security Measures

    Heavy restrictions by security teams on access can limit the flexibility needed for dynamic data exploration.

    Google Looker

    Frequently Asked Questions About Google Looker

    What are the support hours for Looker in different languages?

    Looker Support is available 24/7 in English. For Japanese language, support is 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 for instances running an officially supported Looker version. Customer-hosted instances must update to a supported version to receive support.

    How do Looker hosted instances stay up-to-date?

    Instances hosted by Looker automatically update to supported releases.

    What is required to receive support for Looker (original) instances?

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

    Who is eligible for Looker Support?

    Looker Support is available to users with the Tech Support EditorIAM 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 Python in Business Intelligence

    Rapid Development and Ease of Use

    Python's focus on rapid development allows for quick iteration and deployment of business intelligence (BI) solutions. Its easy-to-use syntax and dynamic typing contribute to faster development cycles, enhancing productivity in data analysis tasks.

    Versatility in BI Applications

    Python's versatility makes it suitable for a wide range of BI tasks, from web apps to machine learning models used in predictive analytics. This adaptability ensures that Python can meet various BI requirements without the need for multiple programming languages.

    Rich Libraries for Data Analytics

    Python boasts a vast selection of libraries specifically designed for data analytics and scientific computing, such as NumPy, pandas, and Matplotlib. These libraries simplify complex data manipulation and visualization tasks inherent in BI.

    Community and Support

    The large and active Python community offers substantial support for BI professionals. A vibrant community translates to a wealth of shared knowledge, resources, and troubleshooting assistance, which can be invaluable for BI projects.


    As a free and open-source language, Python reduces the overhead costs associated with BI software development, making it an economical choice for businesses of all sizes.

    Productivity and Prototyping

    Python's simplicity and comprehensive toolset enhance developer productivity, making it ideal for building and iterating BI prototypes swiftly to meet business needs.

    Microservices and Serverless Applications

    Python's proficiency in microservices architecture and serverless applications allows for scalable and efficient BI solutions, catering to modern infrastructure requirements.


    Disadvantages of Python in Business Intelligence

    Performance Limitations

    Python's slower execution compared to compiled languages such as C++ or Java can be a bottleneck in time-sensitive reporting and data analytics tasks.

    Security Concerns

    Compared to languages like Java or C++, Python offers less robust security features, which can be a critical consideration for business intelligence applications handling sensitive data.

    Project Suitability

    Python may not align with the specific needs of every business intelligence project or team, potentially leading to inefficiencies or the need for additional tools.

    Memory and Resource Management

    Issues with memory consumption and garbage collection in Python can lead to suboptimal performance in data-intensive business intelligence applications.

    Typing and Error Identification

    The dynamic typing in Python can result in runtime errors that are harder to detect, posing challenges for quality assurance in reporting and analytics.

    Multithreading Limitations

    Python's poor multithreading capabilities can hinder performance in multi-threaded processing scenarios often required in data analytics.


    Frequently Asked Questions About Python

    What is Python?

    Python is a high-level, interpreted programming language known for its readability, simplicity, and broad range of applications.

    Why is Python installed on my computer?

    Python may be installed on your computer because it is a popular programming language used by many applications, or it may have come pre-installed with your operating system or with software that requires Python to run.

    Can I use Python for web development?

    Yes, Python can be used for web development. Popular frameworks like Django and Flask make it possible to create robust and high-performing web applications.

    How do I install additional Python libraries?

    Additional Python libraries can be installed using the pip package manager, which is included with Python. You can install libraries using the command 'pip install library-name'.

    Is Python suitable for building mobile apps?

    While Python is not traditionally used for mobile app development, there are tools such as Kivy that enable the creation of mobile apps with Python.

    Use Cases for Python

    • Python

      Data Processing and Analysis

    • Python

      Automation of Data Collection from Various Sources

    • Python

      Building and Maintaining Web Backends for BI Tools

    • Python

      Developing AI Models for Predictive Analytics

    • Python

      Automating Report Generation and Distribution via Email


    Comparing Sourcetable with Google Looker and Python for Business Intelligence

    • Simplification of Reporting and Data Analytics

      Unlike Google Looker and Python, which require more complex setups for business intelligence, Sourcetable simplifies the process by offering a spreadsheet-like interface. This approach streamlines reporting and analytics tasks, making it accessible to users without specialized training.

    • Data Synchronization Across Services

      Sourcetable excels in syncing data from multiple services, providing a unified view that Google Looker and Python do not inherently offer. This seamless integration is critical for businesses that rely on diverse data sources.

    • User Accessibility and Self-Service

      For self-service business intelligence, Sourcetable's intuitive interface is more user-friendly compared to the more technical nature of Google Looker and Python. This reduces the learning curve and empowers more users to engage with their data directly.

    • Efficiency in Building Workflows and Applications

      While Google Looker allows for the building of data-powered applications, Sourcetable's streamlined interface may offer a quicker and more straightforward approach for users to create workflows and applications without extensive coding knowledge, unlike the programming required for Python.

    Google Looker

    Comparing Google Looker and Python

    Both Google Looker and Python are used for data analysis and business intelligence tasks. They enable users to access, analyze, and act on data. In terms of similarities, both tools offer capabilities that support the development of data-powered applications and workflows.

    Data Analysis and Business Intelligence

  • Both provide tools for organizational business intelligence.
  • Both can be employed for self-service business intelligence, allowing users to independently explore and interact with data.
  • Application and Workflow Development

  • Looker and Python can be used to build data-driven workflows and applications.
  • They support embedded analytics and can be integrated into custom applications.
  • Data Accessibility and Interactivity

  • Users can utilize both platforms to retrieve and manipulate data for various analytical needs.
  • They allow for the creation of trusted data experiences by ensuring data accuracy and governance.
  • Google Looker

    Differences Between Google Looker and Python

    Purpose and Functionality

    Google Looker is a business intelligence platform designed to access, analyze, and act on data, providing self-service and governed BI. Python, on the other hand, is a general-purpose programming language used for a wide range of applications, not limited to business intelligence.

    Data Analysis and BI Capabilities

    Looker specializes in self-service business intelligence, embedded analytics applications, and data modeling. Unlike Python, Looker offers a generative AI feature and is specifically tailored for building data-powered applications and workflows.

    Usability and Accessibility

    Google Looker provides a platform for users to chat with business data and deliver trusted data experiences, streamlining the data analysis process. Python requires programming knowledge and does not inherently provide a business-focused interface for data interaction.

    Embedded Analytics and Modeling

    Looker can be directly used for embedded analytics and data modeling within its platform. While Python can be used for similar purposes, it relies on external libraries and frameworks and does not offer a dedicated environment for these tasks.

    BI and Self-Service Focus

    Looker is built to cater to organizational and self-service business intelligence needs. Python, while capable of BI tasks through libraries, is not solely focused on BI and requires additional tools for similar functionality.


    Google Looker vs. Python with Sourcetable

    Google Looker Overview

    Google Looker is a comprehensive business intelligence platform that supports self-service and governed BI. It allows for the creation of data-powered applications and features generative AI, enabling users to access, analyze, and act on data. Looker delivers trusted data experiences and is suitable for embedded analytics applications and data modeling. It serves organizational and self-service business intelligence needs and includes capabilities to build workflows, applications, and even chat with business data.

    Python with Sourcetable Overview

    Python is a versatile programming language used for various applications including data analysis. When integrated with Sourcetable, a spreadsheet interface that connects to databases and APIs, Python can be utilized for business intelligence tasks. Users can write Python scripts to manipulate data in Sourcetable, enabling complex data analysis and visualization. This combination is powerful for users who require the flexibility of Python's programming capabilities alongside the simplicity of a spreadsheet application.

    Comparing Features and Use Cases

  • Google Looker provides a platform-centric approach to business intelligence with a focus on self-service and governed BI, whereas Python with Sourcetable relies on scripting and manual setup to achieve similar results.
  • Looker's generative AI feature and ability to build data-powered applications provide advanced analytics capabilities not inherently available in Python with Sourcetable.
  • Python with Sourcetable offers the flexibility of a programming language for custom analysis, which may benefit users with specific, complex requirements that are beyond Looker's out-of-the-box features.
  • Google Looker is designed for seamless embedded analytics and data modeling, while Python requires additional libraries and integrations to embed analytics into applications.
  • Contrasting Ease of Use and Accessibility

  • Looker's self-service BI capabilities allow non-technical users to easily interact with business data, whereas Python with Sourcetable typically requires programming knowledge.
  • Through Looker's chat feature, users can interact with data conversationally, which is not a functionality directly available in Sourcetable.
  • Conclusion

    Google Looker is a specialized BI platform offering a wide range of features for data analysis and application development without requiring programming skills. In contrast, Python with Sourcetable appeals to users who need the power of a programming language for data manipulation and analysis within a familiar spreadsheet environment.


    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, query that data, and build live models that automatically update. It replaces workflows done in Excel, Google Sheets, and Business Intelligence tools and is typically used by growth teams and business operations folks.

    How does data syncing work on Sourcetable?

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

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

    No, you do not need to code to use Sourcetable. It is designed to be accessible for users who need to centralize, analyze, and model data without requiring programming skills.

    How much does Sourcetable cost?

    Sourcetable costs $50 per month on the starter plan and $250 per month on the pro plan. Additional seats cost $20 per month per user.

    Is there a trial period for Sourcetable?

    Yes, all plans have a 14-day free trial period, which includes 5 seats.

    Google Looker

    Google Looker Pricing Structure

    Google Looker's pricing model includes two primary components: platform and user pricing. Platform pricing is a fixed cost for running a Looker instance, covering administration, integration, and semantic modeling features. User pricing varies depending on the license type and permissions assigned to each user on the platform. Charges for platform use and user licenses are applied to the billing account of the respective Looker instance.

    • Platform Pricing

      Looker offers three platform editions: Standard, Enterprise, and Embed. The cost for each platform edition fluctuates based on user types and their permissions.

    • User Pricing

      User licensing fees are determined by the type of user. Looker provides three license options: Developer User, Standard User, and Viewer User, each with associated costs reflecting their level of access and capabilities within the platform.

    • Subscription Terms

      Looker's pricing can be structured around annual subscription agreements, with options for one, two, or three-year terms, allowing for longer-term planning and potential cost savings.


    Understanding Python Learning Costs

    Learning Python incurs expenses primarily due to external factors. These can vary greatly depending on the resources and pathways chosen for education. Hardware upgrades, bootcamps, and certification programs constitute the bulk of these expenses.

    • External Factors Influencing Costs

    • Upgrading hardware to meet programming requirements.
    • Enrolling in bootcamps for immersive learning experiences.
    • Obtaining professional certifications to validate skills.
    • Cost of Certificate Programs

      Noble Desktop provides specialized training through their Python Developer Certificate and Data Science Certificate programs. The investment for these programs ranges from $3,495 to $3,995.

    • Additional Training Costs

      For individuals seeking Python training, Noble Desktop offers classes with a price range of $1,495 to $3,995. Training could encompass bootcamps or certificate programs, according to the learner's goals.

      Despite the costs, training in Python is considered a valuable investment for career development in the tech industry.

    Google Looker

    User Reviews and Ratings of Google Looker

    • General Consensus

      Google Looker is recognized as a business intelligence (BI) and analytics platform. However, some users have identified it as the worst reporting tool available on the market.

    • Common Criticisms

    • Users report that the platform is slow in performance.
    • There are complaints about it being buggy.
    • The user interface is often described as unintuitive.
    • Comparisons with Competitors

      According to user feedback, free and paid alternatives like Data Studio and Tableau are considered to be superior options compared to Looker.


    User Reviews of Python

    No reviews or ratings from users are provided in the list of facts. Therefore, no specific citations can be made regarding user reviews or ratings of Python. To comply with the instructions, this section cannot detail what users have to say about Python without additional information.


    In comparing Google Looker and Python for business intelligence, each offers distinct advantages. Looker provides an integrated platform with robust data modeling capabilities, while Python offers flexibility through its extensive libraries and ability to handle complex data analysis.

    However, both can involve a steep learning curve and may require significant setup time for integration across various data sources.

    Sourcetable offers an alternative by enabling real-time data synchronization across services into a spreadsheet interface, simplifying the business intelligence process.

    Simplify Your BI Tooling

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