Looker Business Intelligence Review

Looker Data Platform
Santa Cruz, 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 allows for collaboration among users. The platform is accessible on any browser as well as on mobile devices  – reports and data can be shared via email or URLs. Data can be integrated into different applications such as Google Docs, Excel, and even customer and third-party applications. It can also be manually exported in .csv or text files.


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.

Looker’s dashboards makes it easy for any user to access from any device. Also, charts, reports, and graphs are fully customizable.

Looker has a new version, Looker 7, of its product that includes a number of enhancements, such as:

  • The ability to filter to granular slices of data in a few clicks
  • Improved interactive dashboards
  • Updated integration with Slack
  • New Looker Blocks that can be installed into the Google Marketing Analytics Suite (e.g., Google Marketing, Google Analytics 360, Google Ads)
  • A new mobile app
  • Faster queries at a lower cost
  • The ability for front-end developers to build and deploy application within Looker
  • Looker Marketplace that stores over 60 blocks, visualizations and applications from Looker, Google and its partners
  • Data Dictionary (search metadata feature

Also, Google Cloud Platform has recently announced an upgrade of its BigQuery BI Engine – the upgrade allows users to run queries on Looker data and dashboards much faster, especially with large and streaming data sets.

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

Looker provides a variety of training services on its platform, including self-paced eLearning courses, classroom training, weekly webinars and custom training. End users can access the Help Center to browse articles, network with other users and submit a support ticket request. They’ll also benefit from unlimited upgrades and maintenance.


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.


Looker Screenshot 1
Looker Screenshot 2
Looker 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.

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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.