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Connecting to Google BigQuery from Power BI Desktop

Big Data… Everyone is talking about it but what exactly is it?

Big data refers to a large amount of data that is too large to be processed and analyzed by traditional tools. This is because the data is growing exponentially with time. For example, data gotten from internet users and social media networks. Just Twitter generates about 12 TB of data every day! 

Big data has hundreds of different business uses from helping businesses understand their customers/users to helping them provide better services. One of the ways you can analyze such a large amount of data is by using Google BigQuery. 

In this post, you’ll learn how to use connect Google BigQuery’s ability to turn big data into valuable business insights and Power BI as a Business Intelligence tool. 


  • Basic understanding of Power BI.
  • A Google account to sign in to Google BigQuery.

What is Google BigQuery?

BigQuery is a fully-managed, cost-effective, serverless data warehouse that enables you to have scalable analysis over big data. The BigQuery infrastructure is made up of various parts:

  • Mange all the storage and scaling operations of your data uisng BigQuery Storage.
  • BigQuery Analytics gives you access to the business intelligence, ad hoc analysis, geospatial analytics, and machine learning capabilities of Google BigQuery.                 
  • With BigQuery Administration, you can take control of your data resources by managing, monitoring, and optimizing your workload.

You can learn more about Google BigQuery here.

What is Power BI?

Power BI is a Business intelligence (BI) and analytics tool developed by Microsoft. It is also currently one of the most popular BI tools today. With Power BI, you can:

  • Connect and consume data from a vast number of sources and software services
  • Utilize its inbuilt connectors and get data in real-time
  • Analyze data and create a detailed report using the Data Analysis Expression (DAX) language
  • Get actionable insights, uncover trends and anticipate outcomes
  • Build a highly interactive dashboard and models that allow you to drill down into specific areas and share with anyone in your organization
  • Administration: manage and grant access
  • And a lot more.

You can learn more about Power BI here.

Microsoft Power BI Desktop is where the magic happens. By magic, I mean the creation of interactive dashboards and reports that provide actionable insights and drive business results. Learn more about Power BI Desktop here.

How to connect to a Google BigQuery Database from Power BI Desktop

Power BI allows you to have a connection with several databases and data storage services. By connecting with these services, you can use the data just like any other data source. 

To connect to Google BigQuery from Power Query Desktop follows these steps:

  1. Open Power BI Desktop. You can download Power BI Desktop from here.
  1. Navigate to the home ribbon and select Get data, followed by Database. You will see Google BigQuery. Select it and click on connect.
Google BigQuery from Power BI
  1. The Advanced options are displayed. If you want to specify some advanced options, you can make use of these options. Otherwise, just select ok.
Google BigQuery from Power BI
  1. You will be given the option to specify what kind of account you wish to sign in to. To sign in with a service account, enter your Google service account email and its JSON key file content and click on connect. 

However, for this post, we would be signing into an organizational account.

Google BigQuery from Power BI
  1. Select Organizational account, and sign into your Google account. 
  1. Click Allow. This gives Power BI Desktop permission to view and manage your data in Google BigQuery. 
  1. Select Connect once you have signed in.
  2.  A navigator window will appear. This will display all the data available on that server.
  1. Select the data you wish to analyze. Data in Google BigQuery has a Project-Dataset-Table hierarchy.
  1. Once you have selected the data, select either Transform or Load.
    • Transform will take you to Power Query, this is when you transform and clean your data. You can learn more about Power Query Editor from this post.
    • While load will load the data into Power BI Desktop.
  1. You will be asked to pick either of two importing options:
    • Import: this option makes a copy of the data into Power BI. The drawback is that any changes made in BigQuery wouldn’t reflect in Power BI.
    • DirectQuery: With this option, any changes made in BigQuery reflect in Power BI.

Now, your data is loaded. You can start the data transformation and visualization process.



It is relatively easy to consume data from Google BigQuery in Power BI.

You should check out our training programs and courses to learn more as well. So keep studying and keep an eye on our blog for more information on data analysis. 

Thanks for reading and see you next time!

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