Our Commitment to Tableau Public

on March 13, 2012

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.

Our Commitment

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.


Ellie - Tableau Public is a such a great product, thank you for your commitment to it. It's great to see a company put such a highly functional version of their product out there for free, and be rewarded for it with growth. Kudos and Cheers!

Definately a good way for Tableau to keep the buzz going about their products. If you're a real business user, you'll want the professional version and will pay for it. The free stuff is a good marketing vehicle. Keep it up. (I use the paid stuff).

When family, friends, even complete strangers ask me what I do I can point them to things I've published on Tableau Public.

Professionally, it's a great way to provide examples of my work for prospective clients, and there's a wealth of innovation there for me to leverage.

Glad to hear you all are enjoying it. We love to see what gets published. And yes, for real business use you'll definitely want the private product.

Love the program but when, oh, when, oh when, oh when are you going to produce a version that will run on Mac OS X?

I'm a graphic designer and I'd love to use your stuff but I have a Mac system and no wish to have a Windoze emulator just to run Tableau.

For a company that espouses community involvement, I can only agree that the exclusion of Mac OS's is not not only shortsighted but hypocritical. I'm sure someone will recognize the possibilities and introduce a comparable if not superior product for Mac environments, OS5 and iPads etc.

Should be referred to as Tableau/private, TP or PC.

Seriously guys, when's the Mac version coming? The majority of journalists/media folks I know use Macs. It's really frustrating as this is the main/best product on the market for data viz and yet Mac users can't access it.