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Google Colab vs Looker:
a side-by-side comparison for 2024

Comparing two data science notebooks.

A screenshot of Google Colab
Google Colab logo

Google Colab

Website
Colab notebooks allow you to combine executable code and rich text in a single document, along with images, HTML, LaTeX and more.
Background gradient
A screenshot of Looker
Looker logo

Looker

Website
Looker is a powerful BI tool that allows data analysts to create interactive dashboards, explore and analyze data from multiple sources with ease, and ensure robust data governance.
Background gradient

Google Colab

Looker

Setup

Is it managed?

Is it managed?

Fully managed (setup in minutes)
Fully managed (setup in hours)

Can you self-host?

Can you self-host?

No, you must use a managed offering
You can self-host (setup in hours)

Features

Is it Jupyter compatible?

Is it Jupyter compatible?

Jupyter-compatible
Jupyter-compatible

Programming languages

Programming languages

Jupyter languages (e.g. Python, R)
SQL

What kind of data sources can you connect to?

What kind of data sources can you connect to?

Connect with Jupyter libraries (e.g. SQLAlchemy, psycopg2)
Google Drive
Provided file storage

What kind of data visualization can you do?

What kind of data visualization can you do?

Jupyter data visualization (e.g. Matplotlib, Altair, Plotly)
UI for building charts

Reactivity

Reactivity

No reactivity, you decide the execution order
Reactivity with caveats

Notebook scheduling

Notebook scheduling

No notebook scheduling
Notebook scheduling is built in

Management

Reproducibility

Reproducibility

There is no support for reproducibility
Unknown

Version history

Version history

No version history
No version history

Collaborative editing

Collaborative editing

No support for collaborative editors
Multiple editors at the same time

Comments

Comments

No support for comments
No support for comments

Notebook organization

Notebook organization

View notebooks in a list
View notebooks in a list

Licensing

License

License

Proprietary
Proprietary

Price

Price

Free tier
Pay-per-user
Pay for compute
Free tier
Pay for compute

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Alternatives to Google Colab and Looker

Compare Google Colab and Looker with other data science notebook tools.

ToolSetupJupyter compatibilityLanguagesData visualizationCollaborative editingPricingLicense

Google Colab

Fully managedJupyter-compatibleJupyterVisualize with codeLimited collaborationFree and paid optionsProprietary

Looker

Self-hosted or fully managedJupyter-compatibleSQLVisualization UI builderRealtime collaborationFree and paid optionsProprietary

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nteract

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Zeppelin

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Husprey

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Pluto.jl

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Polynote

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Zepl

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Fully managedUnknownPython, RUnknownRealtime collaborationUnknownProprietary

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