Google’s BigQuery: making data insights faster

While companies are grappling with how to make use of all their data and draw valuable conclusions from it all, the challenge is being able to tease out insights quickly and with a lot of flexibility. But moving the analytics to the cloud can be time consuming and complex and opens up security and privacy questions.

Ju-kay Kwek, Product Manager, Google Cloud Product Team at Structure:Data 2012
(c) 2012 Pinar Ozger. [email protected]

But the effort can be worth it, says Ju-kay Kwek, a Product Manager for Google’s Cloud Platform Team. At GigaOM’s Structure:Data conference on Wednesday, Kwek laid out the value proposition for Google’s new BigQuery product, a cloud-based big data analytics service that rolled out in beta last year. Big Query allows companies to run SQL-like queries against very large, multi-terabyte datasets, providing a near-real time way to analyze the data.

Kwek said he wouldn’t force anyone to move their analytics to the cloud but he said there are compelling benefits for many companies who do. He said some companies are building their own on-premise infrastructure. But the time it takes to gain insights from the data can be days if not weeks. BigQuery, because it lets customers leverage Google’s existing algorithms and compute power, can cut that down dramatically, he said.

“The time to insight on Big Query can be as short as a day or less because we take care of the data structuring and making it available so teams can focus on querying the data,” Kwek said.

BigQuery also lets customers pose more questions of their data and explore it without having a set hypothesis. Because it works with fine-grained data, customers can come with open ended questions and figure things out on the fly.

Now, many have reservations moving over all their data to Google. But Kwek said the company extends its own encryption and security to customers. And it makes data easily exportable so they’re not locked in. For some clients, BigQuery offers a way to enhance their existing infrastructure, which can serve as a system of record. He said a big hospitality customer is running revenue management analytics through BigQuery and is using it to mash up data from ads, reservations and online property inventory. Using simple dashboards, the customers is able to extend insights to non-technical regional sales managers, who now start their day going over the data.

BigQuery is still waiting for a wider launch but it raises some interesting opportunities for companies and a challenge to competitors like 1010data.

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