Modern BI provider Looks, when it is JOIN @ Home online conference today, will announce key new features that bring it more parity with longer-established self-service and enterprise BI platforms. Now that Looker is firmly built in and an important part of Google sky, the time has come to strengthen its company’s BI credibility.
Dashboards on the big screen, apps on the small
First, Looker has improved its dashboard facility and added cross-filtering features. Cross-filtering allows users to click on specific data elements in a visualization to filter the data used by the other visualizations. It makes dashboards more interactive and better able to act as entry-level discovery interfaces before users go down to more sophisticated, dedicated analytics views. The figure at the top of this post shows a Looker dashboard created with the new authoring platform.
Next, Looker introduces its first native mobile apps. While Looker’s web interface was fully responsive and mobile friendly before, mobile apps for iOS and Android are likely to provide a more enticing interface with lower friction for BI users. Mobile BI apps are great for conveying high-performance key performance indicators (KPIs) and data visualization. Most of Looker’s biggest competitors have had mobile apps for years, and so the time was right for Looker to bring this capability out to its users.
Activation of developers
Looker also strengthens its developer history, another important pillar of a successful business intelligence platform. To begin with, Looker adds to its previously announced Expansion frame, which allows application developers to create components that can be placed in the Looker environment. Looker publishes its own extension to device relationship charts that can be used to visualize data models.
More now, more later
There are also a lot of other goodies that come from Looker. Aggregation awareness allows the BI platform to accelerate queries using pre-calculated aggregations where they exist, instead of everything from low-level factual data to each query. There is also improvement Loose integration (including the ability to configure conditional alarms that are reproduced directly in specific Slack workspaces and channels); a new Explore selector; and a new report visualization.
The company will also announce important details of its roadmap for future releases. This roadmap includes a modernized core Explore interface; SQL-based automated model generation; new template analysis experiences (created on top of the Extension Framework) augmented analytics; and integrated workflows.
Looker’s new dashboard features are released in public accessibility (GA). The native mobile apps and Extension Framework are available as open beta releases, with mobile apps likely to be GA by the end of the year, and the Extension Framework is estimated to hit GA in early 2021.
When it comes to sophisticated BI features in the cloud, Salesforce has it Table and Microsoft has Power BI. And over the last three weeks, significant new features were announced for both of these BI platforms. It puts pressure on Google Cloud if it wants to become a serious challenger. With Looker’s new and planned capabilities announced today, it looks like Google is taking the challenge very seriously.