Looker Business Intelligence Review

Google Cloud
Looker Data Platform
Google Cloud
Mountain View, CA
Deployment Model:
Free Trial:
Cloud, On-Premise
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Looker Data Platform At A Glance

Good: SQL knowledge not required, LookML proprietary data modeling language, implementation done in hours rather than days or weeks.
Bad: Doesn’t support OLAP functionality, a learning curve for new users, limited customization of visualizations.
Bottom Line: Looker's web-based platform allows users to explore data in a timely manner to help them make better business decisions.

Product Overview

Note that Looker is now part of Google Cloud.

Looker Data Platform is a data-discovery platform that helps companies make better business decisions through real-time access to data. Data, no matter the size, can be analyzed within Looker’s 100% in-database and 100% browser-based platform. Looker analytics integrate with any SQL database or data warehouse, such as Amazon Athena, Greenplum and Microsoft Azure SQL Data Warehouse.

Looker is easy to run. Users do not have to be experienced data analysts and do not need to have SQL knowledge. There is no complicated coding. Users can drill into the data across tables and charts. The platform includes self-service functions such as filtering, pivoting, and the creation of dashboards and visualizations.

Looker has interactive data visualizations and dashboards that let users drill down into the data at row-level detail. It includes a library of visualization templates in different formats (e.g., timelines, funnel, combined charts, treemaps), but users can build their own visualizations, too. It also includes a drag-and-drop functionality for users to explore and ask questions in their data. Users can also take action or complete a task directly into their data, such as sending an email or a Slack chat, with the Actions feature that has prebuilt integrations to third-party software systems.


We want to focus on Looker’s data modeling capability. The vendor has its own proprietary modeling language called LookML, which enables users to develop custom models within the platform. Users can create new metrics, edit the existing model, and explore a variety of data views, including charts, graphs, and maps.

There’s also Looker Blocks, which are prebuilt pieces of codes that allow developers to build out their own SQL patterns, data models or visualizations. Looker Blocks are available via the Looker marketplace, and there are specific blocks targeted to a use case (e.g., Marketing, Finance) or industry (e.g., Healthcare, Retail).


Target Market

We have listed several customers below who have used Looker. Some examples of what companies use Looker for include supply chain analytics, digital marketing, and customer analytics.

  • Credit Karma
  • Fitbit
  • GitHub
  • HubSpot
  • Kickstarter
  • Percolate
  • Poshmark
  • Simply Business
  • ThredUp
  • Yahoo!

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As the platform is browser-based, deployment is faster than traditional BI models. Instead of waiting weeks or months, Looker customers can have their platform implemented in hours, due to the platform being packaged in a .jar file. The platform can be installed within the customer’s existing infrastructure, and can be hosted on either the customer’s servers or or Looker’s.

Looker’s implementation team will also build a customized deployment plan that aligns with the client’s needs and requirements.

Customer Service & Support

Users can access Looker’s Help Center to:

  • Browse articles
  • Submit a support request

In addition, the Looker Community allows users to network with other users on troubleshooting tips, ideas and best practices.

Users can also email the support team or contact them via live chat directly from their Looker platform. Looker has the following response times based on severity (during normal business hours):

  • Severity 1 (critical) – Up to one hour
  • Severity 2 (urgent) – Up to four hours
  • Severity 3 (tolerable) and Severity 4 (non-critical) – Up to one business day

Finally, Looker provides guided learning paths via its Looker Connect solution for users to grow their BI skills.


Looker doesn’t publicly release their pricing information. Contact the vendor directly for a price quote.


Some users have mentioned that customizing visualizations is limited.

Unlike most other BI vendors, Looker’s software doesn’t support the OLAP functionality – potential users will need to be aware of this if this feature is critical to what they’re looking for in BI software. And although Looker provides ongoing training, new users may find the software to have a steep learning curve.


Google Cloud Screenshot 1
Google Cloud Screenshot 2
Google Cloud Screenshot 3


Founded in 2011, Looker believes that businesses can thrive when everyone within the company can easily access consistently defined data. Looker’s web-based BI platform is designed to accommodate any business user who wants to explore high-resolution data and get actionable insights. Its customers have used the software to discover insights that have led to increased revenue and improved business decisions.

In 2019, Looker was acquired by Google’s parent company Alphabet Inc. and is now integrated into the Google Cloud suite. Google Cloud accelerates every organization’s ability to digitally transform its business. It delivers enterprise-grade solutions that leverage Google’s cutting-edge technology – all on the cleanest cloud in the industry. Customers in more than 200 countries and territories turn to Google Cloud as their trusted partner to enable growth and solve their most critical business problems.

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We used Looker to unlock our data

on 2014-12-09 09:35:11

Looker brought data access to our entire company. Before Looker there were only one or two people on our product team and analytics team who could access our data. Looker gave us drag-and-drop functionality to get at our data, but also a level of complexity that an analyst or engineer could use to get the specificity they need. Constant access to experienced data analyst support made it easy for us to get up to speed.