Google Data Studio’s New Explorer Tool Means it Can Now Compete with Enterprise Tools Like Tableau (and it’s Free!)

If you haven’t heard of Google Data Studio already, it’s Google’s data visualization tool that’s free and easy to use, allowing users to quickly build drag-and-drop visualizations and share them with anyone.

Although Google Data Studio is currently still in beta, hundreds of companies are already taking the tool on board within their organizations. Why? Because if you’re already using Google’s technology stack, it’s easy to quickly and seamlessly create reports and dashboards with Data Studio without the fuss of uploading and downloading datasets and plugging them into complicated reporting tools.

Google Data Studio offers a simple way to access, visualize, and share data, and now with their new Explorer Tool, it provides everything that other enterprise tools have, plus it’s free! But before we get into this new feature, let’s review the other important elements that have already been available in Google Data Studio:

Reports

Too often, understanding data is complex and employees neither have the time nor the skills to learn data science or the latest visualization tool. What Google Data Studio has done is make the reporting and visualization process streamlined and simple, so almost any employee can use it with virtually no training.  

If your company is already using Google Analytics, Adwords, and/or putting data into Spreadsheets, all users have to do is pull the data they want directly from Google Data Studio. When more employees are empowered to create shareable reports, this increases transparency cross-departmentally within an organization and can be used to make better, more informed business decisions.

Each report is customizable, and Google Data Studio offers many ways of presenting data, i.e. charts, bar graphs, line graphs, multiple colors, filters, and sizes. Users have a lot of control over how to represent their data without needing to know how to code, and the data will update in real time according to the source it’s pulling from, such as Google Analytics or Spreadsheets.

*Note: Google also provides embed links so you can have live, interactive reports displayed on your website.

Google data studio connector and community connector

As mentioned above, Google Data Studio is able to connect with multiple different sources, such as:

  • Google Adwords
  • Google Analytics
  • Google Spreadsheets and;
  • SQL databases

Right now most companies are able to connect a good portion of their data to Google Data Studio seamlessly, but what about third-party software? While connecting Google products with Google Data Studio has always been simple, this has been less true for non-Google software.

Luckily, Google recently released community connectors for third-party applications! This means it is now far easier to connect your third-party data sources to Google Data Studio, allowing you to finally put all of your data to work with the tool and create detailed reports from all your data sourcesgiving you a full 360 degree view over your business.

*New* Explorer Tool

Now that we’ve dug in and learned a little more about Google Data Studio’s capabilities, let’s talk about their new game-changing Explorer Tool.

The Explorer Tool is a bit like a preview option for your data, allowing users to apply filters and see what the data from a data source might look like before designing and building a report based on that source. With the Explorer Tool you can:

  • Use the properties panel to add or change the dimensions and metrics in a chart.
  • Use the toolbar to preview different chart types.
  • Resize columns in a table.
  • Resize charts by dragging the edges.
  • Hover over charts to see what will be displayed on info cards
  • Add tabs to explore different elements of your data in one single ‘exploration.’

It gives you a birds-eye view over all of your readily available data, then, all you have to do is select the metrics and/or dimensions you want and drag-and-drop that information into any existing report or even into a new report.

Now users don’t have to go searching through data sources to find the information they want to visualize… with Explorer, it’s all in one convenient location so you can begin creating reports and visualizing metrics even faster than before.

This new Explorer Tool gives Google Data Studio a big advantage on enterprise business intelligence software like Tableau, Microsoft Power BI, and Clipfolio.

Google Data Studio offers streamlined data services to the masses and brings a fresh new approach to reporting tools that are easy to use and at little to zero cost. Are you interested in implementing Google Data Studio to your business? Visit our dashboard page to get our free Google Data Studio templates and start using Google Data Studio right away.

Posted by Damien Bouvier

Data Consultant as a Service Enabling Business Intelligence.