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Google to Acquire Data Analytics Startup Looker for $2.6B

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Google announced today it plans to acquire Looker, a provider of data analytics tools delivered via the cloud for $2.6 billion.

The all-cash deal adds a set of software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications to a Google portfolio that already includes the BiqQuery data warehouse. Looker, which runs on the Google Cloud Platform, will officially become an arm of Google Cloud later this year. The two companies already have more than 350 joint customers.

Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian says Looker will complement that effort by making available a suite of analytics applications that can be either accessed via a graphical user interface (GUI) or enable developers to embed analytics within their own applications by invoking Looker application programming interfaces (APIs).

Kurian says that in addition to leveraging BiqQuery, Google also expects Looker to play a significant role in making artificial intelligence models easier to construct and employ.

“This combination is a natural one,” says Kurian.

Looker CEO Frank Bien says the acquisition will accelerate the rate at which Looker has been disrupting the way data visualization tools are employed in the enterprise. Looker is based on a database on which Looker created a semantic layer that makes it simpler to ingest and analyze data that can be analyzed and interrogated from within any Web browser versus requiring organizations to set up their own servers and then deploy desktop or mobile applications.

“We really are the Google for data,” says Bien.

While the that approach makes it much simpler for end users of all types to access and analyze data, the setting up of that semantic layer for each organization still requires a significant amount of effort.

Kurian says Google is committed to making Looker available on multiple clouds and plans to also enable Looker to be able to invoke other database sources such as data warehouses running on-premises or data warehouse services in the cloud from, for example, Snowflake Computing. Kurian also promised that Google will continue to work with Looker to create end-to-end analytics environments specifically optimized for various vertical industries.

It’s unclear what impact Google might ultimately have on a highly competitive analytics sector. The one thing that is clear is that Google sees all the data it collects along with the analytics provided by Looker as a means for driving digital business transformations infused with AI models accessing a wide variety of Big Data inside and out of the cloud.

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