This morning we were impressed to see that Looker was acquired by Google for $2.6 Billion dollars, a massively successful outcome for a company that was probably on track to go public in the next year or two.
There are many tools available in the data visualization space, and Looker offers many benefits to users but what’s impressed us most are two things 1) usability 2) the LookML approach to describing business rules around data sets, so that non-technical people can explore information without needing to know how to write extremely complex queries.
While many Looker end users and the press will focus on Looker’s simple, powerful UI (and it is well deserved!) at Meltano we’ve been iterating on the guts of an open source alternative and have come to appreciate the power and challenges of becoming the glue for every step from data ingestion to dashboarding. Google’s data ingestion plus Looker’s visualization layer combined offer a 1+1=3 outcome, and we are also striving to provide something that is integrated end-to-end.
We’re exploring ideas for how to build an open source alternative to LookML (right now we have Meltano Model, but we would love to integrate a better 3rd party open source option), and would love to connect with potential collaborators.
There are many more open questions:
- will Google limit Looker to BigQuery, or at least get the newest features first? (they say they won’t)
- will Google limit which clouds Looker can be run on?
- will Looker become more accessible to smaller companies?
- will integration with GCP slow innovation (like what happened with Alooma)?
- will it get shut down altogether?