The world of online visualization moves fast. Services are constantly coming, going and evolving. Most recently, Google announced the end of many Google Labs products including Needlebase, although Google Fusion Tables continues. With these changes we thought it a good time to state our commitment to Tableau Public and why we will continue to support it.
Tableau Public is not a lark. It’s an online service for analytics and visualization, and it’s something we believe passionately in. It's supported at the highest levels of Tableau, as well as throughout the company. We are continuing to invest in Tableau Public: we’ve recently added new features that let people save customized views and share them on Twitter or Facebook.
Why We Are Committed, Part 1
Why are we putting Tableau’s core visualization technology on the web for free? For one thing, it’s good for our company. We’ve learned a lot about how people new to visualization get started, what they want to accomplish, and what hurdles they face. We’ve also learned a great deal about how to run a massively scalable online service. Think of it as our giant sandbox with thousands of publishers and millions of viewers. Tableau Public has become invaluable in our journey to make the best self-service business intelligence software that ever existed.
Beyond learning, we also have business reasons to run Tableau Public. Many people hear about our growing company for the first time by seeing a Tableau visualization “in the wild” as we call it. And some of those people wonder, “Why can’t I do that with my business data?” They then explore Tableau’s products for private data.
Why We Are Committed, Part 2
The second part of the answer is that Tableau is one of those rare companies where we feel like we’re on a mission. Tableau people love data. We believe in that the understanding gained from data can elevate discussions and change the world. We believe data is vastly under-used, especially in the public sphere. Tableau Public is our chance to give people the tools to discover and tell stories with data: about how state budgets get spent, the effects of Medicaid policies, and how twitter predicts politics. And we’re data geeks too, so we love seeing the stories about Metallica albums, e-reader wars, and bizarre animal rescues.
In short, it’s part of Tableau to be open with data. There are stories that need data to be told honestly and well. Data sparks conversations. Data answers questions. And having seen how the democratization of data can transform companies, we believe that a free version of Tableau can help transform public discussions.