On the heels of Google I/O, Google hosts another annual event; the Google Performance Summit. It was at this event that they unveiled a free version of the Data Studio 360 tool that they announced back in April, dubbed Data Studio. The free tool carries over most of the functions of Data Studio 360, a powerful data visualization tool meant to give valuable insight to every member of an organization using any data set, but is limited in how many reports can be created per account, making it more suited to small businesses and individual use. Specifically, only 5 reports can be created and maintained per account.
The software comes with an extensive tutorial, going in-depth with features and step-by-step with functions and procedures to show new users the ropes quickly and easily. One of the biggest features of the software is creating customized reports from multiple data sets. For example, shown above is a sample report showing four different sets of data. Data can thus be juxtaposed or even visualized in correlation, such as in a line graph. Full integration with most Google services, such as Sheets, Docs, AdWords and Analytics is also on board, with support for many cloud services outside of Google's domain also available. Connectors for SQL-compliant databases is in the works, which will allow integration with almost any data set. The tool uses the same collaboration backend and interface as Google Docs, making it easy for everybody who should have their hands on a report to view, edit and create reports at their leisure. Bullet graphs, heat maps and pie charts are also available, making it easy to visualize complex data sets and look for things like demographic engagement, for example. Some types of reports can even be made interactive.
Data Studio is currently only available in the United States, but will be rolling out to other countries in the near future. It's interesting to note that this project is among the first from a big name in the tech world to offer an alternative to Microsoft's vaunted PowerBI, one of the first things out the gate after Satya Nadella took the company's helm. Whether the rollout of a free version will be able to convince PowerBI users and cannibalize Microsoft's market share is something only time can tell.