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Tableau Public – You haven’t seen anything yet

Tableau PublicTableau Public launched around the time my previous employer became an official partner and I was responsible for selling licenses. I’ll never forget the first time I saw Christian Chabot get on stage and tell an energetic audience that this software I had committed to sell was going to be given away for free!

After listening intently and coming round to the idea I created myself an account and gave it a go: http://goo.gl/EtG8g In one day it had gone from water companies complaining about ground water storage levels, to the met office rainfall data, to being published on the Guardian Datastore to over a thousand people viewing and interacting with the data. I was immediately hooked…I got it. Question to data to a shared answer in hours all from data which would have been ignored had it not been for Tableau Public.

cnnSince that first foray into public data viz authoring I created a blog specifically to host my repository of dashboards ranging from investigating the price margin of petrol (sorry gasoline to our US friends) http://goo.gl/UX9HL to comparing the viewing figures of Larry King and Piers Morgan (its own viewing figures coincidently put it as my most viewed viz easily breaking the 10,000 level) http://goo.gl/g1WQN. So yes you can say I’m converted and will continue to use up my ever dwindling spare time making lost data come alive.

I’m telling you all this so you understand my growing excitement over Tableau’s latest feature release. We all know how easy and interesting it is to share public dashboards, having twitter conversations over uncovered nuggets of information, maybe even reposting great dashboards on other websites. But how about tweeting about your exact find? Not just the nugget but the state of the dashboard when you found that nugget!

This is what Tableau now bring to the world of public data…’stateful’ social analysis. Just imagine an author creating a dashboard, a collection of its viewers each finding different information and sharing those discoveries with their network. It could go on and on encouraging new discoveries with every facebook post or tweet.

In fact don’t imagine it…give it a go http://goo.gl/4ztgr What can you discover in the spending of the 2012 presidential candidates? Tweet your findings to @craigbloodworth. My nugget is that despite their candidate being at one point president and CEO of GodFather’s Pizza, the Hermain Cain campaign didn’t drop one single cent at their boss’s establishment choosing instead to spend $1000 at rival Domino’s http://goo.gl/9RhzU

Jonah-kai Hancock, Marketing Manager at Tableau Software, very kindly shared some stats with me about Tableau Public since its launch.

Tableau Public currently supports over 15 million distinct users, serving up over 600,000 views per week, hitting its personal record of over 94,000 views in one hour in late 2011.

The Tableau Public configuration is similar to a corporate deployment of Tableau Server with a few exceptions. While the core components of Tableau Public are the same as Tableau Server, Tableau Public users are limited to extracts of 50 MB or less and are not faced with data security when accessing the data. Tableau Public runs tens of thousands of queries every single day. And, although the data sizes are relatively small (less than 100k rows), they have a high-degree of variability.

In fact, Tableau have been testing version 7.0 in production on Tableau Public for over six months prior to its formal launch in January.


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Craig Bloodworth

York, UK

3 thoughts on “Tableau Public – You haven’t seen anything yet

  1. Nice post Craig. I am even more excited about the potential of Tableau on a 64-bit platform and what horsepower you'll be able to harness for ah hoc analysis on a standard business laptop in a few years. We will be shredding through billions of rows of rich, granular data in seconds. We will probably be collaborating on interesting public datasets just because it's fun and Informative and will go way beyond hypothesis-generating.

  2. Great post Craig. I have been investigating Tableau Public and like what it can do. I just setup an account and plan to use it for some fun experiments. Your examples are very helpful.

    Most of what you are showing works well with structured data. Does Tableau do anything with unstructured or semi-structured information?

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