Looker 5: finally, a data platform for everyone

  • 28 March 2022
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This content, written by Lloyd Tabb & Daniel Mintz, was initially posted in Looker Blog on Sep 14, 2017. The content is subject to limited support.

When we last year, we were making a big bet on the data platform. That meant dramatically improving our developer experience, unveiling a new way to find content, and introducing the ability to send Looker data just about anywhere. Back then, Looker 4 was all about possibility.

Looker 5 is about accessibility.

Looker 5 takes the power of our data platform–custom visuals, custom applications, custom workflows–and makes them so easy to build and deploy that just about anyone can do it.

That means it’s simple for everyone to integrate Looker into their workflow, whether it’s asking Looker questions through Slack or changing the priority of a ticket in Github through Looker.

There’s something for everyone to get excited about in this release.

Looker 5, the Data Platform

Looker 5 makes building on the Looker data platform easier than ever before.

Looker 5 gives customers even more value from their existing data by applying any of the brand new Looker block types:

  • Viz Blocks, which allow any Looker customer to add custom visualizations to their instance, whether they’re Looker-provided Viz Blocks or custom ones they build themselves

  • Data Blocks, which let customers enrich their analyses by joining in pre-modeled public datasets like weather data or demographic data

  • Data Tools, which allow you to create curated experiences for end-users (e.g. a web analytics tool like Google Analytics or a retention analysis tool), with simple, straightforward, interactive user interfaces

And integrating Looker into all your workflows has never been easier, with our new Action Hub, which gives Looker users one place to connect Looker to outside services. Want to send your data from Looker to Amazon S3, Google Cloud Platform, Dropbox or Box? Want to update Github and Zendesk tickets right from within Looker? Want to send data to a colleague on their phone?

Now it’s all possible, with just the click of a button.

Looker 5, the BI Tool

But don’t worry, we’ve also added a raft of new features to Looker’s BI Tool to enable Looker Explorers and Developers use Looker exactly how they need to use it.

Analysts who write raw SQL will love our improvements to SQL Runner, which allows them to visualize results from written SQL. Visualizations are helpful ways to understand and communicate data, and this will allow more technical users to do that quickly and directly from SQL.

We’ve also added Data Merge, a way to to combine queries of disparate data sources by pointing and clicking (even when the queries run on different databases). We don’t want Looker users to be limited by data siloed across different databases.

There are a host of other improvements to the BI Tool included in Looker 5--dozens of new statistical functions, git branching to improve developer workflows, and improved dashboard features--all aimed at making Looker’s BI Tool a pleasure to use.

Looker 5, more than one tool in the toolbox

This release is the first time that we’re looking beyond BI by Looker, and towards more specific and powerful ways for companies to get value from their data.

Applications by Looker are powerful new end-to-end solutions for users to dig into department-specific use cases.

Built on the Looker Data Platform, Applications are built directly from your data sources, and come with pre-built dashboard workflows and integrations, enabling you to not only rapidly get up to speed analyzing your data, but also taking action on it right from the tool itself.

If you’re a marketing professional using the Google Stack, you’ll want to take a look at Marketing Analytics by Looker, an end-to-end solution that leverages Google’s Digital Marketing stack, the Google BigQuery Data Transfer Service, and Looker’s purpose-built blocks. Digital Marketers can manage ad spend, monitor referrals and understand marketing attribution across all your marketing channels, all from a single user-friendly application.

We’ll also release applications for Operations professionals with IT Ops Analytics by Looker, and for product professionals with Event Analytics by Looker.

Empowering a new kind of worker

Today’s business challenges demand a new kind of worker, pioneering a new kind of workflow.

Take a look at job postings on LinkedIn, and you’ll notice that it isn’t just “analyst” jobs that require a proficiency in data. Data is a core part of every marketer’s toolkit, every sales leader’s job, every customer success team’s work, every logistics operation.

And that means that data isn’t just something you can rely on an analyst to do for you anymore.. Data fluency is now so critical that it can’t be separated from the core function of doing so many jobs.

That’s why we’re so focused on the Looker platform and so excited about Looker 5 making it easy for everyone to get value from data.

Want to get a live walkthrough on some of our favorite Looker 5 features? Register to attend a hosted by Colin Zima, our VP of Product.

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