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Metabase vs Looker Studio: In-Depth Comparison

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    Choosing the right business intelligence tool is crucial for effective data analytics and reporting. Metabase and Looker Studio are two prominent platforms that offer different functionalities and user experiences.

    This comparison will delve into the strengths and limitations of both Metabase and Looker Studio, assisting businesses in selecting the tool that best fits their needs.

    Additionally, we'll explore how Sourcetable provides a modernized, spreadsheet-like interface that syncs with your data as an alternative to using Metabase or Looker Studio for business intelligence tasks.


    What is Metabase?

    Metabase is an analytics tool designed with a user-friendly UX, making it accessible to a wide range of users. This platform is capable of connecting to over 20 data sources and allows for querying without the need for extracts.

    • Plans and Pricing

    • Free open-source tier
    • Pay-as-you-go Pro plan
    • Hosted plan
    • Enterprise plan
    • Features

    • Single sign-on
    • Permissions and auditing
    • Embedded analytics
    • Ensuring compliance, Metabase is GDPR compliant and offers a docker deployment option. It has gained the trust of over 50,000 companies worldwide.

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    What is Looker Studio?

    Looker Studio is a web-based tool designed for reporting and data visualization. This platform enables users to create interactive reports and dashboards with ease. It is accessible at no cost, catering to a wide range of data analytics needs.

    • Connectivity and Integration

      With its comprehensive set of built-in and partner connectors, Looker Studio allows seamless connection to various data sources, facilitating efficient data analysis and reporting.

    • Extensibility

      The developer platform of Looker Studio offers opportunities for customization and extension, meeting the diverse requirements of developers in creating tailored data solutions.


    Metabase Key Features

    Scalability and Self-service Analytics

    Metabase provides features to help organizations scale and offer self-service internal or embedded analytics. Paid plans enable advanced functionalities for growing enterprises.

    Authentication and Permissions

    Paid plans of Metabase offer additional authentication options such as SAML and JWT. Google Sign-In can be used for multiple domain authentication. Data sandboxing and other permissions like SQL snippet folder and application management ensure granular access control.

    Interactive Embedding and Customization

    Metabase allows for interactive embedding within applications, including the capability to embed the entire app. Appearance customization, dashboard subscription and alert personalization, and domain whitelisting for notifications are also available.

    Advanced Controls and Exporting Data

    Content moderation tools, caching controls for individual questions, and advanced caching options are part of Metabase's feature set. Organizations can export application data for deployment in new instances.

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    Key Features of Looker Studio

    Business Intelligence and Reporting

    Looker Studio is a powerful self-service business intelligence tool that enables users to create detailed reports and dynamic data visualizations with ease.

    Data Connectivity

    Offering connectivity to over 800 data sources, Looker Studio facilitates comprehensive data analysis and insight generation.

    Collaboration and Sharing

    Real-time dashboard sharing capabilities of Looker Studio enhance collaborative analysis and decision-making processes.

    Web Integration

    The platform's report embedding feature allows for seamless integration of reports into web pages, aiding in data accessibility and distribution.

    User Interface

    A user-friendly drag and drop interface in Looker Studio streamlines the creation of reports and visualizations without the need for extensive technical expertise.

    Prebuilt and Customization

    Looker Studio provides a variety of report templates, which can be used as a starting point for analysis, along with customizable options to meet specific needs.


    With data connectors and the Looker Studio API, the platform extends its functionalities to cater to advanced use cases and automation requirements.


    Benefits of Metabase Pro for Business Intelligence

    Advanced Access Control

    Metabase Pro enhances data governance with its advanced permission features. This includes row-level and column-level permissions, ensuring users access only the data relevant to their roles, thereby maintaining data security and compliance.

    Customizable Analytics

    With Metabase Pro, embedding analytics into applications is straightforward, allowing for seamless integration of charts and dashboards. White-labeling and customization options let businesses tailor the appearance to match their branding, providing a consistent user experience.

    Proactive Support and Onboarding

    A world-class success team is at the core of Metabase Pro’s offering, providing expert technical support and guidance for onboarding and offboarding processes, ensuring smooth adoption and continuous assistance for users.

    Enhanced Data Exploration

    The platform's usage analytics empower businesses with insights into how data is being utilized, while subscriptions and alerts keep teams informed with the latest data updates. Caching capabilities improve access to frequently used data, optimizing performance.

    Efficient Configuration Management

    Metabase Pro facilitates efficient management through exporting configurations as YAML files. This aids in syncing multiple environments and creating templates, streamlining the setup process. Additionally, role-based permissions via connection impersonation further refine access control.


    Disadvantages of Using Metabase for Business Intelligence

    Performance Issues

    Metabase users often face performance bottlenecks. When multiple team members use the platform simultaneously, the system gets slow, affecting productivity. Moreover, Metabase struggles with large data loads, leading to significant delays and latency, which can cause reports to load slowly. The rendering of data can also be sluggish, which is a critical drawback for time-sensitive analytics.

    Complexity and Integration Challenges

    Complex queries are challenging to execute due to difficulties in linking data within Metabase. The platform is also not suitable for joining different databases, which limits its capability to handle complex data relationships. These integration challenges can hinder comprehensive data analysis.

    Limited Functionality and Customization

    Creating dashboards in Metabase is not a straightforward process, and the software lacks many options for customizing charts, restricting the ability to tailor reports to specific business needs. Additionally, the absence of code versioning and a limited scope of data governance contribute to the limitations in managing and maintaining data integrity over time.

    Update and Authentication Limitations

    Updating Metabase can be a cumbersome process that may disrupt ongoing analytics processes. Furthermore, the free edition of Metabase does not support Azure SSO, creating a gap in user authentication and access management for businesses relying on Azure's ecosystem.


    Frequently Asked Questions About Metabase

    How can I filter data by date in Metabase?

    You can filter data by date using the trend widget in Metabase.

    What should I do if I encounter a 550 5.7.60 SMTP error in Metabase?

    The 550 5.7.60 SMTP error may occur during the SMTP setup in Metabase, and you should check your SMTP configuration settings to resolve it.

    Can Metabase be used to edit data in Snowflake or Athena databases?

    No, Metabase does not allow editing of data in Snowflake and Athena.

    Is it possible to display comments on Postgres tables using Metabase?

    Yes, Metabase can be used to display comments on Postgres tables.

    What type of license does Metabase use?

    Metabase uses the AGPL license.

    Use Cases for Metabase

    • Metabase

      Bringing company-wide transparency to customer care

    • Metabase

      Helping teams get insights from their data

    • Metabase

      Transforming data analysis

    • Metabase

      Embedding analytics in SaaS platforms

    • Metabase

      Democratizing data for data-driven decision-making

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    Advantages of Looker Studio for Business Intelligence

    Comprehensive Feature Set

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

    Enterprise Capabilities

    The platform's enhanced enterprise capabilities facilitate large-scale data management and analysis, essential for business intelligence.

    Organizational Control

    Reports and data sources are owned by the organization, ensuring control over business intelligence assets.


    Team workspaces in Looker Studio Pro enable efficient sharing and collaboration on business intelligence content.

    Automation and Accessibility

  • Automated report delivery ensures stakeholders remain informed with the latest data insights.
  • Personal report links allow individuals to engage with data interactively.
  • Mobile Access

    The mobile app provides access to reports and data analytics on the go, supporting decision-making anytime, anywhere.

    Technical Support

    Google Cloud Customer Care and the necessity of a Google Cloud support plan for technical assistance guarantee expert support for Looker Studio Pro users.

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    Disadvantages of Looker Studio for Business Intelligence

    Data Blending Limitations

    Looker Studio's inability to blend data sources in a single view can be a significant limitation for businesses requiring comprehensive analytics.

    Interface Performance Issues

    A slower UI loading time can impede productivity, especially when quick access to BI reports is necessary.

    Customer Support Concerns

    Less responsive customer support compared to other BI tools may lead to delays in resolving issues, affecting business operations.

    Focus on Visualization

    Being primarily a visualization tool, Looker Studio may not meet the complex analytical needs of all businesses.

    Real-Time Data Integration

    Lack of native support for real-time data integration hinders the ability to make immediate, data-driven decisions.

    API Quota Limitations

    The quota limit for GA4 API requests in Google Looker Studio can restrict data accessibility for extensive reporting needs.

    Data Connector Constraints

    A limited number of data connectors restricts the ability to integrate with a wide range of data sources.

    Report Template Shortage

    With fewer report templates than other BI tools, Looker Studio offers less variety and customization options for reporting.

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    Frequently Asked Questions About Looker Studio

    What is Looker Studio?

    Looker Studio is a business intelligence tool that allows users to create customizable reports and dashboards using data from various sources.

    How do I connect my data to Looker Studio?

    You can connect your data to Looker Studio by selecting a data source when creating a new report or by using the 'Add Data' option in an existing report, then choose from the available connectors for your data.

    Is Looker Studio free to use?

    Yes, Looker Studio offers a free version that users can access with a Google account, providing various data connectors and visualization options.

    Can I share reports created in Looker Studio with others?

    Yes, Looker Studio allows you to share reports with other users by managing access permissions or by sending a shareable link.

    Can I schedule reports to be sent automatically in Looker Studio?

    Yes, Looker Studio has a feature to schedule reports to be emailed automatically to a list of recipients at regular intervals.

    Use Cases for Looker Studio

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      Creating reports and dashboards

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      Tracking marketing analytics

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      Visualizing data for client reports

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      Embedded analytics for small businesses

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      Easy-to-use interface for dashboard and report creation


    Why Sourcetable is a Superior BI Tool Compared to Metabase and Looker Studio

    Sourcetable offers a unified solution for business intelligence that surpasses the capabilities of Metabase and Looker Studio. It focuses on streamlining data analysis and reporting by centralizing data in a familiar spreadsheet interface.

    • Streamlined Reporting and Analytics

      Unlike Metabase and Looker Studio, Sourcetable simplifies the integration of data across multiple services. This approach eliminates the complexity of connecting to various data sources, a common challenge with other BI tools.

    • Intuitive Spreadsheet-Like Interface

      Sourcetable's spreadsheet-like interface provides an accessible environment for data manipulation. This reduces the learning curve for users, in contrast to Metabase's requirement for a user-friendly UX and Looker Studio's analytics focus.

    • Efficient Data Synchronization

      Data across all services is seamlessly synced with Sourcetable, offering real-time insights without the need for manual data extracts. This feature provides an advantage over Metabase, which does not require data extracts, and Looker Studio, which emphasizes data connectivity.

    • Comprehensive Data Management

      Sourcetable's all-in-one platform for data management ensures that users can access, analyze, and report data without the need for additional tools or platforms, setting it apart from Metabase's analytics tool and Looker Studio's business intelligence capabilities.

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    Comparing Metabase and Looker Studio

    Business Intelligence and Analytics Capabilities

    Both Metabase and Looker Studio are tools designed for analytics and business intelligence, providing users with the ability to create dashboards and reports for data exploration.

    User Accessibility

    Metabase and Looker Studio are accessible to a wide range of users, including non-technical business users, enabling them to explore data and create analytics on their own.

    Data Source Connectivity

    Each platform can connect to various data sources, allowing users to pull data from multiple databases and data warehouses for comprehensive analysis.

    Interface and Ease of Use

    Both tools offer user-friendly interfaces that simplify the process of querying data, creating visualizations, and sharing insights with others.

    Deployment Options

    Metabase and Looker Studio provide deployment flexibility, with options for a hosted version on the cloud, making it easier for companies to set up and start using the platforms.

    Compliance and Security

    They both have a focus on security, offering features and compliance with standards that ensure data protection and privacy for enterprise users.

    Embedding Capabilities

    Metabase and Looker Studio allow for the embedding of charts and dashboards into other applications, facilitating integrated analytics within customer-facing products.

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    Metabase vs Looker Studio

    Deployment and Accessibility

    Metabase offers both a hosted solution with Metabase Cloud and an open-source option that can be self-hosted. This flexibility allows for quick deployment, often under 3 minutes, and caters to a wide range of company sizes. Metabase's accessibility extends to non-technical users with a user-friendly interface. Looker Studio, formerly known as Google Data Studio, is a web-based application with no open-source capability, primarily relying on its cloud platform for deployment.

    Data Source Connectivity

    Metabase can connect to over 20 data sources, including production databases and data warehouses, without the need for data extracts. Looker Studio also supports various data connectors but is particularly integrated with Google services like Google Analytics and Google Sheets, appealing to users already within the Google ecosystem.

    User Experience and Functionality

    Metabase is known for its friendly UX and visual query builder, enabling users to create dashboards and analytics without SQL knowledge. It provides a self-service analytics approach accessible to all users. Looker Studio offers a visual approach to data analysis as well, but with different functionalities and a focus on creating reports and sharing them within the Google environment.

    Pricing and Plans

    Metabase has a free open-source tier and a pay-as-you-go Pro plan, with the latter offering advanced features like more permissions, caching, audit controls, and enhanced security. An Enterprise plan is also available for large-scale deployments. Looker Studio is available for free, but for access to additional features and support, users must opt for Looker, which comes at a premium and is aimed at enterprise clients.

    Compliance and Security

    Metabase complies with SOC 2 Type II and GDPR, ensuring enterprise-grade security and compliance. It also offers advanced security features in its Pro and Enterprise plans. Looker Studio, backed by Google, also offers robust security features, but specific compliance details are tied to Google's overall cloud offerings and the Looker platform.

    Embedding and Customization

    Metabase allows embedding of analytics into customer-facing applications and supports whitelabeling without code, providing a high level of customization. Looker Studio, on the other hand, offers embedding of reports but with different levels of customization and generally within the Google environment.


    Comparison of Metabase, Looker Studio, and Sourcetable


    Metabase is a business intelligence tool designed for data exploration and analytics. It is known for a user-friendly interface that allows non-technical users to create dashboards and reports. Metabase supports over 20 data sources, including both small production databases and large data warehouses. It offers a free open-source version and a paid Pro plan with enterprise-grade features, such as enhanced security and compliance, advanced permissions, and the capability to embed analytics into other applications. The tool is praised for its quick deployment, simplicity, and ease of use. Over 50,000 companies use Metabase for their BI needs.

    Looker Studio (formerly Google Data Studio)

    Looker Studio is a data visualization tool that integrates with a wide range of Google services and external data sources. It provides a cloud-based platform for creating customizable reports and dashboards. Looker Studio is accessible to users with Google accounts and offers robust data connectivity, real-time collaboration, and sharing features. This BI tool is known for leveraging Google's data infrastructure and services, offering a collaborative environment for users to analyze and present data.


    Sourcetable is a spreadsheet-based BI tool that combines features of traditional spreadsheets with powerful data visualization and analytics capabilities. It is designed for ease of use and flexibility in managing multiple data sources. Sourcetable allows users to blend and analyze data without extensive technical expertise, making it suitable for businesses looking for a simple yet functional data analysis solution.


  • Deployment: Metabase offers both a self-hosted open-source option and a cloud-based Pro plan, while Looker Studio and Sourcetable are primarily cloud-based services.
  • User Interface: Metabase and Looker Studio provide user-friendly interfaces, but Metabase is particularly noted for its simple, intuitive UX, which is designed for non-technical users.
  • Data Sources: All three tools can connect to multiple data sources, but Metabase notably supports over 20 different types, from small databases to large data warehouses.
  • Customization and Embedding: Metabase's Pro plan allows for embedded analytics and whitelabeling without code, a feature particularly valuable for enterprise users. Looker Studio focuses on customization within the Google ecosystem.
  • Compliance and Security: Metabase has enterprise-scaled compliance, including SOC 2 Type II and GDPR, which may make it more suitable for businesses with stringent security and privacy requirements.
  • Usability: While all tools aim to be accessible to non-technical users, Metabase is frequently praised for its ease of learning and quick implementation, which may provide a steeper learning curve for Sourcetable and Looker Studio users.
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    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 data, and build live models that update automatically. It is typically used by growth teams and business operations teams.

    Does Sourcetable require coding skills to use?

    No, Sourcetable does not require any coding skills to use.

    How often does Sourcetable sync data from other applications?

    Sourcetable syncs data from over 100 applications and most databases 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. Additional seats cost $20 per month per user.

    Is there a trial period for Sourcetable?

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


    Metabase Pricing Overview

    • Starter Plan

      Metabase offers a Starter plan at $85 per month, accommodating up to 5 users. Additional users can be added to this plan at $5 per month each. Opting for annual billing provides a 10% discount, setting the yearly cost at $918, or $54 per user.

    • Pro Plan

      The Pro plan is priced at $500 per month, which includes 10 users. Extra users are charged at $10 monthly. Annual subscribers receive a 10% discount, with the total annual cost being $5400, equating to $108 per additional user per year.

    • Enterprise Plan

      Custom pricing applies to the Enterprise plan, starting at $15,000 per user annually. The exact cost varies as it is tailored to specific user needs and scales with the number of users.

    • Open Source Plan

      An Open Source plan is available for free, suitable for users seeking a no-cost option.

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    Looker Studio Cost Overview

    • Looker Studio Free Version

      Looker Studio is provided at no cost for both creators and report viewers, offering accessibility to its basic features without financial commitment.

    • Looker Studio Pro Version

      Enterprise customers have the option to upgrade to Looker Studio Pro, which includes additional administrative features and support. The cost for Looker Studio Pro is set at $9 per user per project each month. This upgrade is also available at no charge for creators and report viewers and can be accessed directly via the Looker Studio website.


    User Reviews and Ratings of Metabase

    • Overall Impressions

      Metabase has garnered an overall rating of 4.5 out of 5, reflecting a generally positive reception from its user base. Reviewers frequently compare Metabase with alternatives like Tableau and Microsoft Power BI, while highlighting its open-source nature and cost-effectiveness.

    • Usability

      Users often praise Metabase for its ease of use, especially for those with minimal technical knowledge, which is supported by a 5.0 rating for ease of use. The tool’s user interface (UI) is well-received, contributing to its reputation for facilitating self-service analytics.

    • Functionality

      Metabase is recognized for its capabilities in building dashboards, analyzing data, and tracking KPIs. It integrates with SQL and Google Analytics and allows users to create reports and custom dashboards, including on self-developed databases. It has received a 5.0 rating for its features.

    • Performance

      Despite its positive aspects, Metabase has been noted to struggle with performance issues such as significant delays and latency with more data, and slower speeds when multiple users are engaged simultaneously. Reviewers report that Metabase can become buggy and slow in rendering data, and may crash under larger loads.

    • Technical Considerations

      The platform's open-source mode requires non-trivial configuration, and it’s written in CoffeeScript, which some reviewers find makes it difficult to contribute to the project. Despite being a market leader in analytics, Metabase is not considered the most advanced tool available and does not support joins between different databases.

    • Support and Value

      Metabase’s customer service has been rated highly, with a 5.0 rating. Moreover, users have found value in its alerting feature for query results and its versatility beyond dashboard applications. It is deemed inexpensive, offering good value for money, reflected in its 5.0 rating in this category.

    • Accessibility

      The tool is noted for being easy to set up, deploy, and get started with. Its self-hosted version is available for free, and it is particularly user-friendly for non-technical users.

    • Security and Data Integrity

      Maintaining data security and integrity is one of Metabase’s strong suits, which is essential for users handling sensitive information.

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    User Reviews of Looker Studio

    Looker Studio is a business intelligence and analytics platform that has been integrated into Google Cloud. Despite its association with Google, user sentiment is mixed. Reviews indicate a significant number of users are dissatisfied with the platform.

    • Common Criticisms

    • Looker’s performance is often described as slow.
    • Users frequently encounter bugs while using Looker.
    • The platform's user interface is considered unintuitive by some users.
    • Comparisons with Competitors

      When compared to other reporting tools, Looker faces tough competition. Users have expressed a preference for alternatives like Data Studio and Tableau, which they view as superior in functionality.


    In sum, Metabase and Looker Studio offer distinct features for business intelligence needs. Metabase is known for its open-source flexibility, while Looker Studio provides robust data visualization tools.

    Both platforms have their merits depending on the specific requirements of a business. However, for those seeking a more streamlined experience, Sourcetable offers a unique solution.

    Sourcetable syncs data in real-time across various services, presenting it within an accessible spreadsheet interface. This simplicity can be particularly advantageous for users familiar with spreadsheet environments seeking to avoid complex BI tools.

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