Big Data focuses on the analysis and utilization of the vast amount of unstructured data generated in many industries and companies that would normally not processed or used to generate reports, forecasts or for supporting decision-making. Thanks to Big Data service providers, companies can now squeeze all the information they have and improve their performance, productivity or adapt business strategy. With the idea of increasing the scope of the Big Data, Google introduced an online service to process large volumes of information.
First introduced by Google in last November in New York at a GigaOm conference and after months of beta testing, Google BigQuery service is now open to the public. The new service is designed primarily for use by corporate users, and allows them to analyze large amounts of data in the cloud.
So what the tool is up to? If we consider that many companies are avoiding entering the world of Big Data often because of the price tag, hardware and software cost, thanks to BigQuery, companies can make their first steps in the processing of large volumes information. BigQuery enables companies and developers from around the world to acquire abundant information in real time, without the support of any hardware or software investment.
Businesses and developers can sign up for the service online and query up to 100 GB of data per month for free. Above that, the BigQuery data storage service will cost $0.12 per gigabyte per month for up to two terabytes, with decreasing costs above this amount. The BigQuery analysis costs $0.35 per gigabyte of data processed. There is also a limit of 1,000 queries per day and 20 terabytes of data processed daily.
The new service promises to analyze terabytes of data with just one click. The service supports ad-hoc queries, reports, data mining, or even Web-based applications. The cloud based service combines NoSQL data storage with SQL search capabilities. Users interact with the service via a BigQuery browser tool, a command line tool, or through REST-based APIs using Java, Python or other languages.
“When you have really large data sets, we have the capability to analyze them,” said Ju-kay Kwek, product manager for Google’s cloud data effort. “A query with five terabytes of data involved could be returned in 15 seconds.” That is, he said, about 10 times faster than the speed of many corporate data systems. He noted that in companies today, “it’s not uncommon to have problems that take half a day to analyze.”
An important feature of BigQuery is that companies can use it without have to worry about building their own infrastructure. Kwek also emphasizes that the user data is protected by several layers of security and access is controlled via Google accounts.
The main use of the service is likely to be the analysis of data from Google advertising, which already resides in the cloud. BigQuery is currently used by developer for fast analysis of real-time management of rental properties, Web ads, and techniques for selling products to online gamers.
“When an advertiser wants to understand the ROI or effectiveness of a keyword campaign running across the globe, that’s a big-data problem,” said Kwek.
Google Adwords customers typically extract data service with the Adwords API, in order to build on-site databases for further analysis. BigQuery enables them to process the data effectively and intelligently.
Amazon, which is considered the market leader with regard to online data storage and computing, offering a similar price (12.5 cent per gigabyte with discounts for larger volumes), and would soon launch its own analytical tools. Amazon Elastic MapReduce services are mainly aimed at people with specific technical skills, while Google is adding an extra layer to address people with less technical skill in their offering.
Those who initially tested BigQuery have built applications on the service, according to Google. For example, a company called Claritics created a tool that allows game developers to analyze user behavior data in real time. Crystalloids, an analysis company based in Amsterdam, has developed a cloud-based application to help a network of resorts to analyze your booking, marketing, optimize and maximize revenues.
“Imagine a big pharmaceutical company optimizing daily marketing spends using worldwide sales and advertisement data,” Kwek adds. “Or think of a small online retailer that makes product recommendations based on user clicks.”
With this launch, Google continues to add products to its arsenal of enterprise computing. Attracting large customers’ data certainly reinforces Google online storage business, which recently got a face lift with the introduction of Google Drive last week.