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Will Google Big Query Transform Big Data Analysis?

Google Big Query, currently in beta, will offer an array of SQL and GUI-driven SQL analyses of tens of terabytes of data. Google advertisers likely to be first clients, but how will others load the data?


By Doug Henschen InformationWeek, March 22, 2012

Google Developers Google shared details Wednesday about Google Big Query, a cloud-based service that promises to bring the search giant's immense compute power and expertise with algorithms to bear on large data sets. The service is still in limited beta preview, but it promises to speed analysis of Google ad data while opening up ways to mash up and analyze huge data sets from external sources.

Google Big Query was described by Ju-Kay Kwek, product manager for Google Cloud Platform Team, as offering an array of SQL and graphical-user-interface-driven SQL analyses of tens of terabytes of data per customer, yet it doesn't require indexing or pre-caching. What's more, customers will get fine-grained analysis of all their data without summaries or aggregations.

... Some of Google's beta customers are uploading data to the service with batches and data streams and treating it as a cloud-based data warehouse, but Kwek said ad data would be the first priority, supporting a Google customer's need to understand massive global campaigns running in multiple languages.

"When an advertiser wants to understand the ROI or effectiveness of a keyword campaign running across the globe, that's a big-data problem," Kwek said. "They're currently extracting data using the Adwords API, building sharded databases on-premises, doing all the indexing, and sometimes losing track of the questions they wanted to ask by the time they have the data available."

Thus, time to insight will be the biggest benefit of the service, Kwek said, with analyses taking a day or less, rather than days or weeks, when customers face extracting and structuring data on less robust and capable on-premises platforms.

No launch date has been announced for Big Query, but it will find itself in good company with cloud-based big-data services already on the market, including Amazon Elastic MapReduce, IBM BigInsights services, Microsoft Azure Data Market, and 1010data. Google's prominence in ad serving, keyword advertising, and Web analytics will surely make related analyses of Google-sourced data the biggest play for Google Big Query.

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