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Looker Vs. Tableau - The Detailed Comparison

Looker Vs. Tableau - The Detailed Comparison
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In essence, both Looker and Tableau will be experiencing growth in 2024, but Looker might see a faster pace due to Google Cloud’s push, while Tableau is having its established market position and Salesforce integration. In this blog post, we’ll compare Looker and Tableau in detail, covering features, pricing, ease of use, integration capabilities, customer support, and more, to help you choose the right BI tool for your business.

What Is Looker?
Lookers Features
What Is Tableau?
Tableau Features
Looker vs. Tableau: Integration Capabilities
Looker vs. Tableau: Ease of Use
Looker vs. Tableau: Pricing
Looker vs. Tableau: Customer Support

Check out our video to compare Looker and Tableau and discover which data visualization tool best suits your needs!

What is Looker?

Looker is a business intelligence application, developed to assist firms in making data-driven decisions. It allows professionals to examine and analyze enormous volumes of data from numerous sources. All these processes finally help experts to generate brilliant reports and dashboards. Looker is a fully-fledged platform where you can manage various contents (Looks, Dashboards, Merge Queries, Boards). Looker Studio allows you to access other Google products and other tools via connectors (Google Analytics etc.). In addition, it can also use Looker models instead of connecting directly to the data warehouse.

Looker gains its reputation from its modeling layer that empowers users to create personalized metrics and dimensions, while also enabling the conversion of raw data into meaningful insights. In the year 2020, Google Cloud acquired Looker, thus incorporating it into the Google Cloud Platform.

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Looker Features

Looker Dashboard - Looker vs. Tableau - Intellipaat
  • Cloud-Based and Secure: You can access Looker from anywhere without software downloads. It has features, like simplified permissions and security management that help maintain data safety. 
  • Rapid Data App Development: You can build customized data experiences using reusable components. An in-built extension framework allows developers to quickly address complex data needs.
  • Advanced Workflows and Alerts: Schedule reports, set data-driven alerts, and automate tasks based on specific conditions. It also helps in staying informed about business performance and potential issues that might happen in the future. 
  • Extensive Connectivity: Connect to various databases and data sources like BigQuery, SQL Server, and leverage a vast partner network for seamless data integration.
  • Powerful Analytics with Ease: Explore live data directly, use in-database architecture for speed, and build visualizations without coding through drag-and-drop functionality.

What Is Tableau?

Tableau is a data visualization tool that facilitates the creation of interactive reports, dashboards, and visualizations, eliminating the requirement for coding. Users can effortlessly incorporate data from spreadsheets, databases, and cloud data warehouses onto the dashboard through a simple drag-and-drop mechanism.

This intuitive interface allows both technical and non-technical team members to build engaging and informative visuals that convey data stories. Tableau supports connections to software platforms like Salesforce, SAP, and AWS, extending its usefulness. 

It is available in two formats: a desktop app for individuals and a cloud-based service for larger enterprises. Both options provide easy, self-service data exploration and sharing functionalities that facilitate faster data-driven decisions. 

Tableau is a popular choice among firms looking to improve their utilization of data insights due to its simplicity as well as its powerful visualization and collaboration options.

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Tableau Features

Tableau Dashboard - Looker vs. Tableau - Intellipaat

Powerful Visualizations & Analytics:

  • Tableau allows you to create informative dashboards that combine text, images, and various data models and visualizations. This empowers you to explore your data in multiple ways, from simple charts like bar graphs and pie charts to more complex visualizations like histograms and maps.
  • In-memory data connections enable quick analysis and interactive exploration, providing a smooth user experience for data manipulation and discovery.

Extensive Data Connectivity:

  • Tableau connects to a variety of data sources, including local files, databases, cloud data, and big data.
  • It combines data from multiple sources for a broader perspective, which helps in securing connections with support for protocols like Active Directory and Kerberos

Collaboration & Sharing:  

  • You can share dashboards, reports, and visualizations securely with others that support real-time collaboration and data exchange. 
  • You can have access to interact with data on mobile devices through a dedicated mobile app. 

Advanced Data Exploration & Security:

  • You can ask questions about your data in natural language using the “Ask Data” tool. 
  • You will get insights through features like trend line creation and basic forecasting

Flexibility & Customization:

  • You can easily customize dashboards with various layouts and styles, which helps in making mobile-friendly dashboards with interactive features.
  • You can also refresh data extracts automatically and receive notifications for connection failures

Preparing for Tableau Interviews? The Tableau Interview Question List will help you crack your next interview.

Now, we will look at the differences between Looker and Tableau, which we have broken into different components and explained in detail how they work.

Looker vs. Tableau - Looker vs. Tableau - Intellipaat

Looker vs. Tableau: Integration Capabilities

Both tools provide secure integration options, with Looker arguably offering more flexibility due to its data modeling approach. The choice depends on your specific integration needs and also, on which tools you want to combine data from.

  • Looker
    • Connects to Various Data Sources – Looker can connect to databases, data warehouses, spreadsheets, and other data sources to access and model data.
    • Broad Range of Integrations – Looker offers integrations with tools like Salesforce, Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics, Marketo, Mixpanel, and others for data blending and insights.
    • API Integrations – Looker has APIs that allow it to integrate with both open-source and enterprise applications.
  • Tableau
    • Connects to Multiple Data Sources – Like Looker, Tableau can connect to spreadsheets, databases, cloud data warehouses, and other sources.
    • Integrates with Popular Tools – Tableau integrates with software like Salesforce, Google Analytics, Excel, SAP, and AWS to enable data sharing and visualization.
    • API Integrations Available – Tableau also offers API integrations for custom solutions.

Looker partners with a wider range of tools and platforms due to its focus on data-driven insights. Tableau’s integrations mainly focus on tools that can benefit from its data visualization capabilities.

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Looker vs. Tableau: Ease of Use

Both tools have their own important places to function. Looker is required for in-depth analysis by experts, and on the other hand, Tableau is deployed for self-service visualization across an organization. The important factor is choosing the tool that best matches your specific needs and user profiles.

  • Looker
    • Requires Learning the Modeling Layer – The data modeling approach in Looker means users have to learn how to create custom dimensions and metrics. This has a learning curve and initial setup time.
    • Streamlines Future Work – Once users understand the modeling layer, they can easily create new dimensions and metrics to answer different questions from the data.
    • Better for Power Users – The modeling approach works best for analysts, data scientists, and other power users who want flexibility and control over the insights.
  • Tableau
    • Intuitive Drag-and-Drop Interface – Users can immediately start visualizing data by dragging fields onto the canvas, without any modeling.
    • Quick Ramp-up – Most users can create basic visualizations within minutes, with little to no training.
    • Easy for Casual Users – The simplicity of Tableau makes it accessible for a wider range of users, from analysts to managers.

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Keep reading more about Tableau through this Tableau tutorial.

Looker vs. Tableau: Pricing

Looker or Looker Studio has a customized plan based on the needs, while Tableau offers a very clear image when it comes to plans and pricing. Let’s see how they differ here : 

Pricing ModelPlatform + User LicensingPer-User License
User tiersStandard, Enterprise, and EmbedCreator, Explorer, and Viewer
DeveloperPrice per requestN/A
Standard$5000/50 users/month$70/user/month(Cloud)$35/user/month(On-premise)
Additional CostsMay require additional tools for data extractionMay require additional tools for data extraction
  • Looker: Most basic or subscription base, includes department-level Business Intelligence, Google Cloud Support, and System Administration, will cost you around $9 per user, per project per month
    • Standard Edition – In the Standard Edition, Google targets companies with up to 50 users. Here, Google Cloud offers pay-as-you-go pricing, which costs around $5,000 per month.
    • Enterprise Edition – The Enterprise Edition is intended for larger organizations. It accommodates unlimited users and includes additional features like Private IP, up to 100,000 BigQuery API calls per month, and custom themes
    • Embed Edition – It includes 1 production instance, 10 Standard Users, 2 Developer Users, upgrades up to 500,000 query-based API calls per month, and up to 100,000 administrative API calls per month. Basically, used for large-scale analytics and maintaining custom applications
  • Tableau
Tableau Pricing - Looker vs. Tableau - Intellipaat
  • Tableau Viewer – The most basic plan allows users to view published dashboards, but with limited interactivity. If you want a public or on-premise cloud, then you have to pay $12 and for Tableau hosted cloud, it’s $15.
  • Tableau Explorer – This plan allows users to interact with the existential dashboards and visualization, but doesn’t have features to create a new one.  If you want a public or on-premise cloud, then you have to pay $35 and for Tableau hosted cloud, it’s $42.
  • Tableau Creator – This is an individual license, which users will get. It gives you three features like Tableau Desktop which is a software used for data visualization and analysis. Then, we have Tableau Prep which is used for data cleaning and transformation. And lastly we have Tableau Online or Server which allows users to publish and share dashboards with others.This particular plan charges $70 annually.   

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Looker vs. Tableau: Customer Support

The type of support that best fits your needs depends on your budget and preferences. If you prefer more hands-on guidance, especially in the beginning, Looker’s engaged customer success model may be a better fit. Tableau’s multiple lower-cost support options may work better for more self-sufficient users.

  • Looker
    • Customer Success Manager – Looker assigns a dedicated customer success manager to each customer to help them maximize the value. This includes guidance, best practices, and troubleshooting.
    • Phone and Email Support – In addition to 24/7 support for critical issues, Looker provides regular phone and email support during business hours for non-critical issues.
    • 24/7 Support for Critical Issues – Looker provides round-the-clock phone and email support for the highest priority issues to minimize disruption.
  • Tableau
    • Online Resources and Community – Tableau provides knowledge base articles, documentation, tutorials and an active user community forum.
    • Paid Support Plans – Tableau offers various paid support plans with different levels of priority support and response times.
    • Multiple Support Options – Tableau offers support via phone, email, online self-help resources and community forums. There is no dedicated 24/7 customer support service.


Finally, Looker and Tableau are both prominent business intelligence applications that provide a variety of features and capabilities for data visualization, reporting, and analysis. The modeling layer of Looker allows for additional customization, although Tableau’s drag-and-drop interface is simple to use. Although Looker’s cost is higher, it includes limitless data storage and access to all functions.

Tableau is less expensive, however, it may not have as many features as Looker. Finally, the decision between Looker and Tableau will be based on your company’s unique requirements. It is critical to carefully assess each tool and select the one that best matches your company’s demands.

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Which one is better: Looker or Tableau?

The choice between Looker and Tableau is totally dependent on what fits your business best. If your company needs detailed data modeling, you can opt for Looker. For better data visualization and quicker insights into your data, Tableau will be the right choice for you. 

Why is Looker a famous tool?

You can use Looker for advanced data governance and control. It has an in-built database architecture, which has a feature of real-time analysis for large datasets. That can be of great help to large database organizations.

Is Google Looker Studio free?

Looker Studio, which was known as Google Data Studio before, offers a free version. In that tier, you can create reports and dashboards using your own data from Google products like Sheets and Analytics. However, for data from other sources, you will have to take a subscription of Looker Studio or third-party websites.

Is Tableau still in demand?

Yes, Tableau is in high demand. Its simple to use interface and powerful visualization features make this a popular option for data analysis and collaboration, even if there  are many competitors in the field.

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