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Google Looker vs Thoughtspot: A Comparative Analysis

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    Choosing the right business intelligence tool is crucial for effective data analysis and decision-making. Google Looker and Thoughtspot are leading platforms that offer robust data analytics capabilities.

    While Google Looker focuses on interactive data exploration and integrated workflows, Thoughtspot emphasizes search-driven analytics with AI-powered insights.

    Both tools have distinct features and benefits, but for those seeking a user-friendly and spreadsheet-like experience, Sourcetable presents an alternative. In this comparison, we'll explore how Sourcetable offers a modernized interface that effortlessly syncs with your data 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. It enables users to access, analyze, and act on data, facilitating the creation of data-driven experiences. Looker provides functionalities for chatting with business data and leveraging generative AI to develop applications.

    • Capabilities

    • Access and analysis of data within a cloud-based environment.
    • Creation and delivery of data experiences.
    • Development of custom applications with reliable metrics.
    • Integration with existing BI environments using Looker modeling.
    • Self-service and governance within the BI platform.
    • Features

    • Business data interaction via chat.
    • Use of generative AI for application development.
    • Support for building data-powered custom applications.
    • Ability to work with trusted metrics in application design.
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    What is ThoughtSpot?

    ThoughtSpot is an AI-powered analytics platform designed to serve business and data teams. It offers a self-service environment where users can engage in data analysis, exploration, and sharing of insights. ThoughtSpot's core functionality centers around its search and AI-driven insights capabilities, allowing natural language processing for business questions.

    • Key Features

    • Scriptable and governed data model
    • Granular controls and end-to-end auditability
    • AI-powered pattern analysis for enhanced insights
    • Applications

      ThoughtSpot supports various applications, including the ability to embed analytics into products, replacing manual reporting, and conducting complex ad hoc analysis through AI-assisted code writing.

    • Benefits for Users

    • Enables asking and answering any data question in natural language
    • Facilitates designing and embedding AI-powered analytics
    • Improves efficiency by replacing manual report building
    Google Looker

    Google Looker Features

    Business Intelligence

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

    Data Management and LookML

    Looker employs LookML, a SQL-based modeling language, which enables analysts to centrally manage business rules and definitions. The platform's data model is maintained with Git version control.

    Integration and Accessibility

    Integrated into the Google Cloud console, Looker is accessible as a core Google Cloud service and supports insights in the working environment of users. It provides seamless access to data across multiple clouds.

    Analysis and Visualization

    Users can connect to Looker's semantic model to analyze, explore, and visualize data using Looker Studio. The creation of reports and dashboards is simplified for efficiency.

    APIs and Prebuilt Integrations

    Looker features robust APIs and prebuilt integrations, facilitating extended functionality and connectivity within the Google Cloud portfolio and other services.

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    ThoughtSpot Analytics Cloud Release 9.10.5 Features

    ThoughtSpot's latest release, version 9.10.5, introduces significant enhancements that enable more efficient data analysis and management. This version focuses on providing AI-driven insights, improved dataset integration, and customizable data classifications.

    Liveboard AI

    The Liveboard AI feature offers immediate understanding of the most important metric changes. It enables users to quickly grasp insights and summaries, facilitating faster decision-making processes.

    Mode Connector

    Integration with ThoughtSpot Mode datasets is now more advanced with the Mode connector feature. It leverages AI to deliver powerful analytics, enhancing the analytical capabilities of ThoughtSpot with external Mode datasets.

    Custom Sets

    Custom Sets provide a mechanism for organizing data into reusable segments. This feature streamlines data analysis by allowing users to apply classifications across multiple analytical operations.

    Google Looker

    Advantages of Google Looker for Business Intelligence

    Data Exploration and Visualization

    Google Looker Studio Pro enables comprehensive data exploration, allowing businesses to answer complex questions. Users can build and share visualizations and dashboards, enhancing data analytics and reporting capabilities.

    Enterprise Capabilities

    With its focus on enterprise needs, Looker Studio Pro provides robust management options for team content and offers access to dedicated enterprise support, supporting medium to large-scale environments efficiently.

    Team Collaboration and Dashboard Sharing

    Designed to facilitate team collaboration, Looker Studio Pro streamlines sharing dashboards and insights, making it an effective tool for collective decision-making processes within businesses.

    Google Looker

    Disadvantages of Using Google Looker for Business Intelligence

    Integration and Connectivity Issues

    Lack of seamless connectivity can hinder effective data management when using Google Looker. Users experience difficulty when migrating data from AWS to BigQuery, describing the process as painful.

    User Experience Challenges

    The platform's complexity contributes to a steep learning curve, making it less intuitive and potentially leading to a laggy performance. This complexity also affects the sharing mechanisms, which users find complicated. Additionally, the performance may degrade with the presence of many graphs on a single page.

    Onboarding and Training Obstacles

    Onboarding is notably expensive, which may pose a barrier for smaller businesses or startups. Compounding this issue is the lack of readily accessible training materials and documentation, making it challenging for new users to become proficient.

    Website and Platform Performance

    A slow website can significantly impede productivity, and users report that Looker's website and platform performance can be slow, affecting the overall efficiency of business intelligence activities.

    Security and Access Limitations

    While robust security is essential, an excessively restrictive security policy can limit user access and flexibility, impacting the agility of data analysis and reporting processes.

    Google Looker

    Frequently Asked Questions About Google Looker

    What are the hours for Looker Support in Japanese?

    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.

    Is Looker Support available for all versions of Looker?

    No, Looker Support is only available on Looker instances running an officially supported version. Instances hosted by Looker automatically update to supported releases, while customer-hosted instances must update to a supported Looker version to receive support.

    What is required for a Looker (original) instance to get support?

    Looker (original) instances 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.

    Will I need to choose 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

    • Google Looker

      Embedding analytics in a quote-to-revenue platform

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    Advantages of Using ThoughtSpot for Business Intelligence

    Comprehensive Professional Services

    ThoughtSpot's Professional Services team ensures a full spectrum of services tailored to AI-Powered Analytics, directly aligning with the business goals through the Modern Analytics Cloud.

    Expertise in Project Management

    The team's proficiency encompasses the entire project lifecycle, guaranteeing efficient project delivery and optimal staffing management.

    Consulting and Solution Delivery Experience

    With a strong background in consulting and analytics solution delivery, the team brings a wealth of experience to every business intelligence task.

    Knowledge of Modern Data Technologies

    Expertise in the modern data stack, including cloud data platforms, ETL processes, and data warehousing, contributes to the team's capability to handle complex data analytics tasks.

    Dedicated Engagement and Solutions Team

    Highly skilled engagement managers and solutions architects work closely with clients to ensure the success of their analytics projects.

    Proven Customer Success

    Having assisted hundreds of clients, ThoughtSpot has a track record of facilitating successful business intelligence outcomes.

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    Disadvantages of Using Thoughtspot for Business Intelligence

    User Comfort and Accessibility

    ThoughtSpot's platform may present challenges for non-analytics business users, taking a considerable amount of time for them to become comfortable. This complexity leads to a situation where some users never fully adapt to the system.

    Organization and Functionality Limitations

    Users may find ThoughtSpot's organizational capabilities lacking, as it does not allow for reports to be sorted into directories, potentially leading to clutter and disorganization. Additionally, the absence of a report creation limit can result in an overload of reports, affecting manageability. The platform has been noted for being buggy, which could impede smooth operation.

    Data Model Complexity

    Compared to other tools, ThoughtSpot features a more intricate data model, which may increase the learning curve and complicate data manipulation for users.

    Visualization and Customization Restrictions

    The platform offers limited visualization options, restricting users from fully tailoring their data analysis experience. There are also few customization options for colors and chart sizes, leading to a less personalized and potentially less effective visual representation of data.

    Formatting and Drill Down Issues

    ThoughtSpot's limited cosmetic formatting capabilities, including font and color customization, can be a drawback for organizations that prioritize branding and aesthetics in their reports. The drill down function, crucial for in-depth data analysis, is also not as effective as it could be, potentially impacting the depth of insights gleaned from the data.

    Training Requirements

    Comprehensive training is necessary to leverage all of ThoughtSpot's features, implying additional time and resources that businesses must invest.

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    Frequently Asked Questions About Thoughtspot

    How can I find out which version of ThoughtSpot I am using?

    You can find the version of ThoughtSpot by clicking the information center icon and looking in the About section.

    Why am I not seeing certain columns or values in the dropdown?

    You may not see certain columns/values in the dropdown if the index has not been built with the latest data or if the column is being dropped.

    How can I verify that a column is available in ThoughtSpot?

    To verify that a column is available, you should use the Data page and ensure that the INDEX PRIORITY value is set to 1.

    Use Cases for Thoughtspot

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      BI strategy

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      Data visualization

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      Self-service analytics

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      AI-driven insights

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      Data modeling


    Why Sourcetable is a Superior Alternative for Business Intelligence

    • Simplified Data Reporting

      Sourcetable streamlines the reporting process by syncing data from various services into an easy-to-use, spreadsheet-like interface. This simplification is advantageous over Google Looker's approach to data access and analysis, and Thoughtspot's analytics capabilities.

    • Enhanced Data Analytics

      With its intuitive interface, Sourcetable allows for more straightforward data analytics compared to the more complex systems of Google Looker and Thoughtspot, making it a more accessible tool for businesses looking to leverage their data.

    • Unified Data Management

      Sourcetable's ability to consolidate data across multiple platforms into a single interface offers a cohesive data management solution, contrasting with Google Looker and Thoughtspot's separate and distinct platforms for BI tasks.

    Google Looker
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    Comparing Google Looker and ThoughtSpot

    Business Intelligence Capabilities

    Both Google Looker and ThoughtSpot are business intelligence platforms that provide self-service BI solutions. They enable users to access, analyze, and act on data.

    Data-Driven Applications

    Google Looker and ThoughtSpot allow the creation of data-powered applications, facilitating the integration of analytics into business workflows.

    Embedded Analytics

    Embedded analytics are a common feature, as both platforms offer solutions for embedding analytics into applications, providing a seamless data experience.

    Self-Service Features

    Self-service capabilities are present in both, enabling users to perform data exploration without extensive technical knowledge.

    Google Looker
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    Differences Between Google Looker and ThoughtSpot

    Google Looker and ThoughtSpot are both business intelligence platforms, but they differ in several aspects such as their approach to data exploration, AI capabilities, and user experience.

    Data Exploration

    Google Looker emphasizes a data modeling layer that allows for governed and self-service BI. ThoughtSpot focuses on search-driven analytics, enabling users to query data using natural language.

    Artificial Intelligence

    Google Looker includes a generative AI feature for advanced data insights, while ThoughtSpot provides AI-driven analytics through its SpotIQ feature, which automatically uncovers insights.

    User Experience

    Looker offers extensive options for building data-powered applications and workflows, suitable for both embedded analytics and organizational BI. ThoughtSpot is recognized for its user-friendly interface concentrated on instant data discovery.

    Data Governance

    Google Looker's platform offers both self-service and governed BI, ensuring trusted data experiences. ThoughtSpot's governance capabilities are not specified in the provided facts and could differ.

    Chat with Data

    Looker uniquely provides the capability to chat with business data, integrating a conversational interface for user queries, which is not a feature attributed to ThoughtSpot in the facts given.


    Comparison of Google Looker, ThoughtSpot, and SourceTable

    Google Looker

    Google Looker is a business intelligence platform that provides both self-service and governed BI solutions. It enables users to build data-powered applications and offers a generative AI feature. Looker facilitates access to data, allowing for analysis and action. Trusted data experiences and embedded analytics applications are key components of its service. Additionally, Looker supports embedded data modeling and is used for organizational and self-service business intelligence. It also provides capabilities for building workflows, applications, and conversing with business data.


    ThoughtSpot is known for its search-driven analytics and user-friendly interface. It leverages AI to provide insights and has capabilities for building charts and dashboards. ThoughtSpot offers real-time analytics and is designed for enterprise-scale data. Its simplicity allows users to query data using natural language search.


    SourceTable focuses on combining the simplicity of spreadsheets with the power of databases. It is aimed at non-technical users and emphasizes ease of use. SourceTable allows for collaboration and sharing, much like popular spreadsheet tools, while enabling more powerful data handling and analysis.


  • Google Looker's generative AI feature is not a known attribute of ThoughtSpot or SourceTable.
  • ThoughtSpot's natural language search differentiates it from Looker's more comprehensive data modeling and application development capabilities.
  • While Looker and ThoughtSpot are more enterprise-focused, SourceTable caters to users seeking the familiarity of spreadsheets with enhanced functionality.
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    Frequently Asked Questions About Sourcetable

    What is Sourcetable and who typically uses it?

    Sourcetable is a spreadsheet application that replaces workflows typically done in Excel, Google Sheets, and Business Intelligence tools. It is used by growth teams and business operations folks who need to centralize, analyze, and model data that updates over time.

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

    No, Sourcetable does not require coding to use. Users can query data and build live models that automatically update without needing to write code.

    How often does Sourcetable update data integrations?

    Sourcetable updates data integrations every 15 minutes on the regular plan and every 5 minutes on the pro plan.

    How much does Sourcetable cost?

    Sourcetable costs $50 per month for the starter plan and $250 per month for the pro plan. There is an additional charge of $20 per month for each seat beyond the first 5 users included in the pro plan.

    Is there a trial period for Sourcetable?

    Yes, all plans of Sourcetable come with a 14-day free trial period.

    Google Looker

    Google Looker Pricing Structure

    • Platform Pricing

      Platform pricing is the foundational cost for running a Looker instance. This cost encompasses platform administration, integrations, and semantic modeling capabilities.

    • User Pricing

      User pricing is determined by licensing individual users to access the Looker platform. The cost is variable, depending on user types and their permissions.

    • Billing and Account Management

      Each Looker instance is linked to a billing account. All charges, such as those from creating a new instance or adding users, are billed to this account.

    • Platform Editions

      Looker offers three different platform editions: Standard, Enterprise, and Embed. Pricing for these editions varies based on user types and their permissions.

    • Subscription Terms

      Looker provides annual subscription options with one, two, or three-year terms.

    • User License Types

    • Developer User
    • Standard User
    • Viewer User
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    ThoughtSpot Pricing Overview

    • Small Teams

      ThoughtSpot offers a plan at $95 per month for small teams, accommodating up to 5 users and allowing 5 million rows of data. The plan includes natural language search and in-app and community support. It is billed on a monthly basis.

    • Small Companies

      For small companies, the cost is $1250 per month, supporting up to 20 users and 25 million rows of data. This annual plan features natural language search, automated insights, row-level security, and both in-app and community support.

    • Pro Plans

    • The most popular pro plan targets growing businesses, billed annually, allows unlimited users, and supports up to 500 million rows of data. This includes natural language search, automated insights, and in-app and 24x7 support.
    • The pro plan, ideal for single-tenant, medium-scale applications, permits unlimited users, and provides for up to 5 billion rows of data, alongside natural language search, automated insights, in-app and 24x7 support, and API and dev tool access.
    • Developer Plan

      The developer plan is free for individuals and small developer teams, accommodating up to 5 users, and 3 million rows of data. It includes natural language search, in-app and Discord chat support, and access to APIs and dev tools, with limitations on worksheets, answers, and liveboards.

    • Enterprise Plan

      The enterprise plan is designed for large-scale, multi-tenant applications. It supports unlimited users and data, and includes automated insights, in-app and 24x7 support, and access to APIs and dev tools.

    • Studio Plan

      ThoughtSpot also provides a free studio plan for individual analysts, with details on features and limitations not specified.

    Google Looker

    User Reviews of Google Looker

    • Overall Sentiment

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

    • Performance Issues

      Users have reported that Looker can be slow, which may impede productivity. Complaints also highlight that the platform is often buggy, potentially impacting its reliability.

    • Usability Concerns

      According to reviews, Looker is described as unintuitive. This suggests a steep learning curve or a possibly convoluted user interface.

    • Comparisons with Competitors

    • Users have expressed a preference for other BI tools, both free and paid.
    • Specifically, Data Studio and Tableau are mentioned as superior alternatives to Looker.
    • Note: The above insights are derived from user reviews and ratings; specific sources are not cited.

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    User Feedback on Thoughtspot

    Thoughtspot has been recognized for its AI capabilities by its users. Users highlight the platform's advanced analytics and data visualization tools that leverage artificial intelligence for enhanced business intelligence insights.

    • Comparative Usage

      There is a user base that prefers PowerBI over Thoughtspot. This choice reflects a diversity in user needs and preferences when it comes to data analytics solutions.

    • Market Perception

      Thoughtspot is perceived by some users as a promising tool in the data analytics space. Its potential for growth and innovation has been noted in user discussions.


    In assessing Google Looker and Thoughtspot, both platforms offer robust business intelligence solutions, with Looker providing deep integration with Google's suite of tools, and Thoughtspot offering a strong natural language processing feature.

    Each platform has its unique strengths; Looker with its data modeling capabilities and Thoughtspot with its ease of use in query generation.

    Sourcetable offers a more streamlined approach to business intelligence, enabling real-time data syncing across services within a spreadsheet interface that may be more familiar to some users.

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