Wednesday, 25 January 2017

A first look at Google Data Studio

Let's take a break from Tableau to look at a relatively new player in data visualisation. Google has been sort of doing data analysis and visualisation with Google Analytics being a favourite for website traffic tracking and analysis, and Sheets providing excel type functionality. While you could link your Google Sheet to your Analytics data, it wasn't the best visualisation tool, and in fact Tableau was a popular option for Google Analytics data visualisation. But now the Google Analytics team has a new offering to be used either for an analytics 'custom report' or for any dataset, with some connectors provided.
As a tableau user I can see some similarities but it's quite a different beast. The data source is a bit invisible and it's rather hard changing the way it is used. It takes forever to colour the countries on the map, I can't believe the dataset doesn't have Italy, Portugal or most of the Balkans, not to mention the Baltics, Ireland etc. Less flexible than tableau in building a worksheet, but much more flexible about putting sheets together while continuing to develop them. In any case, it's free so I can't complain too much, but it looks like the beta version is quite slow for a proper demo. I will keep an eye on it as it comes out of Beta.

This follows the lead of Microsoft who integrated it's various 'Power' add ins into Excel trying to upgrade it into a BI tool. It makes sense that other big companies then try to compete with Excel and other dominant players such as Tableau.

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