Microsoft Power BI vs. Google Data Studio: Which is Better?

Data analytics and visualization are vital skills that help any team plan tasks, present new project proposals, or impress clients with beautiful presentations. Google Data Studio and Microsoft Power BI are two of the best and popular applications that enable you to embody this skill.

However, not all data analysis tools are the same, and different data sets need separate tools. This is why it is smart to know the difference between these two business intelligence tools.

What is Microsoft Power BI?

Microsoft Power BI is a data analysis and visualization tool from Microsoft. This scalable tool is effective in delivering high performance data analysis for small, medium and large enterprises.

The tool has seen widespread adoption by companies in the past. However, in recent times, individuals and small projects are also trying it because of its powerful data slicing and slicing features to provide various insights on projects.

The tool has an easy to understand user interface (UI). You can link data from multiple sources to create outstanding reports. Power BI is available as a standalone desktop application, a mobile application, a browser-based application, and a local server.

download: Power BI for windows | Android | iOS (free)

What is Google Data Studio?

Data Studio is an easy-to-use tool that anyone can use to produce beautiful data visualizations in minutes. The tool automatically delivers amazing and insightful reports without any action from the user.

Related: How to Create a Data Flow Diagram to Visualize Any Project’s Data

It is a cloud-based application that runs on leading web browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. data studio It also comes with a free license for personal or commercial use. You can access various charts such as bar, pie, line, area, scatter, etc., which add value to your data reports.

Moreover, the navigation of the tool is similar to Google Drive, Google Docs, etc. Therefore, you do not have to invest a lot of time when you first start using the tool.

Features Compare

Both tools help users create professional and meaningful data visualizations effortlessly. However, there are some fundamental differences in how these tools provide services. You will find a thoughtful comparison between Power BI and Data Studio in the following features:

1. Data entry sources

Image showing adding data to your analytics


Power BI combines productivity apps from Microsoft with third-party apps, and supports more than 500 data sources. Here are the headers that organize all the data connectors:

  • a file: In this category, you will find Excel, XML, JSON, PDF, SharePoint folder, etc.
  • Database: SQL Server Database, Oracle Database, MySQL Database, Amazon Redshift, etc. are some of the data connectors in this category.
  • power platform: This section allows you to connect data sources for Power BI data sets, Power BI data flows, etc.
  • I visit: You can get data from different Azure databases using connectors of this class.
  • Online services: Get data from platforms like GitHub, Salesforce, Asana, etc.

Visual data sources for Data Studio

Data Studio supports limited data connectors. They are spread across two categories, Google Connectors and Partner Connectors. You can pull data from up to 500 platforms, and combine both categories.

2. Functions

Power BI is for data analysts from beginner to advanced. It has a lot of data processing features. It also gives you access to various data visualization elements such as charts, tables, graphs, etc. Moreover, the tool automatically updates itself eight times a day.

Data Studio comes with fewer features as it is just a data visualization app. However, the in-memory BI engine is a powerful feature that eliminates any delays in data visualization, especially for large data sets. The application updates the source data every 12 hours.

3. Edit metadata and customizations

Illustration for editing files

You will find Power Query feature in Power BI, similar to Excel. So, before connecting the data source, you can edit your data. You can perform actions such as sorting, filtering, cleaning metadata, renaming columns, etc.

Power BI also allows you to customize the visualization of reports, some of these are:

  • Replace a dimension or scale

  • Insert a legend or remove an existing one

  • Compare measurements

You cannot edit your source data in Data Studio. You will need to use Excel or Google Sheets to clean up the metadata. However, the raw data does not need any formatting if you are connecting to data sources such as Google Analytics or Google Ads.

You can customize almost all the elements you use in your report. After clicking on the chart or table, a menu will open on the right side. You can customize the data and style from this menu.

4. Data visualization exchange

Illustration of file sharing in data analytics

Sharing reports is a complex task in Power BI. You will not be able to share a report directly from the desktop application. You will have to publish the report to the Power BI service. However, the mobile apps allow you to share a dashboard or report directly from the app.

You can share Power BI dashboards and reports with external or internal collaborators. However, the recipient also needs a Premium Per User (PPU) or Power BI Pro subscription to access these files.

Related Topics: Best Mural Features for Visual Collaboration

On the other hand, report sharing is easy in Data Studio. You can either add an email in the share field or share a public link with anyone. The recipient does not need to pay for any subscription because Data Studio is a free tool from Google.

5. Ease of use

Visible showing a happy user with the UI of the tool

Users need to know the basics about extract, transform, upload or ETL process to use Power BI effectively. ETL is vital when working with M language and PowerQuery.

You will also need to know the DAX language for metrics and metrics, PowerPivot for data modeling, etc. In short, you will need to do some training to become familiar with Power BI.

On the contrary, Data Studio is a codeless platform that anyone can use. If you have a basic idea of ​​tables, scorecards, and charts, you are good to go. Connect the data source and drag UI elements onto the canvas to create professional data visualizations.

6. Community and online resources

Graphical illustration of community resources

The Microsoft Power BI community is a huge knowledge base for learning and solving doubts about Power BI. You will find a lot of content on this platform in sections like Theme Gallery, Data Stories Gallery, Custom Visual Ideas, Developer, etc.

Similarly, Data Studio also has a strong community platform. The Community Gallery section of the tool gives you access to many third-party UI elements. To learn the content on Data Studio, you can visit Data Studio Help Center.

7. Mobile compatibility

Image showing cross-device compatibility

Power BI contains native apps for Android, Windows, and iOS smartphones. You can perform many tasks on Power BI smartphone app, some vital tasks are:

  • Visualize data reports

  • Filter data from a report

  • Add notes to reports

  • Get notifications and set alerts

  • Explore local data

On the contrary, Data Studio does not have a mobile app. You can visualize the reports using the mobile browser, but editing the report can be difficult.

Intelligent data analytics and visualization

Whether you use Power BI or Data Studio will depend on your goal of data analysis and presentation. You’ll discover that most teams use both tools.

When you need to send a quick and simple report to the client about a running project, it is OK to use Data Studio. But, if you need to split raw data and come up with different predictions for this project, Power BI is the perfect tool.

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