Looker Studio vs. Looker: Unveiling the Evolution of a Data Powerhouse

Data analytics is the lifeblood of modern business operations, driving strategic decisions and insights. To navigate the data-driven landscape, organizations often turn to specialized platforms for help. One such platform that has been making waves in the data analytics industry is Looker. However, there’s a twist in the tale – Looker Studio vs. Looker. What’s the difference, and which one suits your organization’s needs best? In this article, we will unravel the comparison between Looker Studio and its predecessor, Looker, to help you make an informed choice.

The Looker Legacy: A Brief Introduction

Before we delve into the battle of Looker Studio vs. Looker, it’s essential to understand the legacy of Looker.

Looker, founded in 2012 and later acquired by Google’s parent company, Alphabet, in 2019, is a data analytics and business intelligence platform. It’s known for its data exploration and visualization capabilities, empowering organizations to turn their raw data into actionable insights. Looker employs a unique modeling language called LookML, which abstracts complex database queries, making data analytics more accessible to non-technical users.


Looker Studio: The Evolution of Data Analytics

With the introduction of Looker Studio, Looker has undergone significant transformations. Looker Studio is not a separate product but an enhancement and expansion of Looker’s capabilities. It is designed to provide a more user-friendly and comprehensive experience for data analytics. Let’s compare the two in various aspects:

1. User Interface and Experience

Looker (Legacy): The legacy Looker interface is functional but can be intimidating for newcomers. It requires a learning curve to navigate effectively.

Looker Studio: Looker Studio places a strong emphasis on improving the user experience. It offers a more intuitive and visually appealing interface with easier navigation and more user-friendly tools.

2. Data Modeling

Looker (Legacy): Looker has long been recognized for its LookML modeling language, which allows users to define data models. While powerful, LookML can be complex and requires a deep understanding of data modeling.

Looker Studio: Looker Studio simplifies data modeling with a more straightforward, drag-and-drop approach, making it more accessible to a broader range of users.

3. Customization and Visualization

Looker (Legacy): Looker’s customization and visualization capabilities are robust, but they may require advanced technical skills to fully leverage.

Looker Studio: Looker Studio enhances the customization and visualization options with more user-friendly features, allowing users to create and share engaging dashboards effortlessly.

4. Embedded Analytics

Looker (Legacy): Looker allows for embedding analytics into applications and websites but may require more technical expertise for implementation.

Looker Studio: Looker Studio places a greater focus on embedded analytics, making it more accessible for non-technical users to embed data visualizations into various platforms.

5. Pricing and Licensing

Looker (Legacy): Looker’s pricing structure can be complex and may not be suitable for organizations with limited budgets.

Looker Studio: Looker Studio is an evolution of Looker’s pricing model, offering more flexible options that can cater to a wider range of organizations.


A Side-by-Side Comparison

Let’s take a more structured look at Looker Studio vs. Looker:

Aspect Looker (Legacy) Looker Studio
User Interface and Experience Functional but has a learning curve More intuitive and user-friendly
Data Modeling LookML modeling language Simplified, drag-and-drop modeling
Customization and Visualization Robust but may require advanced skills Enhanced customization and visualization
Embedded Analytics Supported with some technical expertise Greater accessibility for embedding
Pricing and Licensing Complex pricing structure More flexible pricing options

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is Looker Studio a separate product from Looker?

No, Looker Studio is not a separate product. It is an enhancement of Looker, aimed at improving the user experience and accessibility of Looker’s features.

2. Does Looker Studio replace Looker entirely?

No, Looker Studio complements Looker. Organizations using Looker can transition to Looker Studio to take advantage of its improved features, but Looker continues to be a valid and fully functional solution.

3. Can Looker Studio be used by non-technical users?

Yes, Looker Studio is designed to be more user-friendly, making it accessible to a broader range of users, including non-technical individuals.

4. How does pricing work for Looker Studio compared to Looker?

Looker Studio offers more flexible pricing options to cater to a wider range of organizations. Pricing models may vary, so it’s advisable to contact Looker directly for specific details.


The battle of Looker Studio vs. Looker is not a fight to the death. Instead, it’s an evolution in the world of data analytics. Looker Studio builds upon Looker’s strengths, enhancing the user experience, simplifying data modeling, and making data analytics more accessible.

The choice between Looker and Looker Studio depends on your organization’s specific needs, the technical expertise of your team, and your budget. Looker Studio is particularly attractive to those seeking a more intuitive and user-friendly data analytics experience, while Looker (Legacy) continues to be a robust choice for those with more advanced technical requirements.

In conclusion, the Looker ecosystem provides options to suit a wide range of business needs, empowering organizations to unlock the full potential of their data.

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