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Latest Updates on Google Data Analytics (February 2023)

The highlights of the updates on BigQuery, Looker Studio, Google Analytics (GA) & Google Tag Manager (GTM). By Alexander Junke

In this blog post, I want to summarize the new releases from the Google tools, that we use daily in datadice. Therefore I want to give an overview of the new features of BigQuery, Looker Studio, Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager. Furthermore, I will focus on the releases that I consider to be the most important ones and I will also name some other changes that were made.

If you want to take a closer look, here you can find the Release Notes from BigQuery, Looker Studio, Google Analytics&Google Tag Manager.


Primary and Foreign Keys

There are key relations available in BigQuery! They are more important in OLTP databases, to ensure data integrity, but it is good, to have a choice here. 

  • Primary Key column(s): The combination of column values is unique in this table and is not NULL
  • Foreign Key columns(s): The value must be present in the primary key of the referenced table

We will do an additional blog post about this in the next days. Here is just a quick overview of which possibilities are available now:

  • In the CREATE TABLE statement you can define a Primary and/or Foreign Key
  • With the ALTER TABLE ADD PRIMARY KEY you can add a Primary Key to an already existing table
  • With the ALTER TABLE ADD CONSTRAINT you can add a Foreign Key to an already existing table
CREATE TABLE dataset_name.table_name 
	(x INT64 NOT NULL,y FLOAT64,z STRING, 			
	FOREIGN KEY (fk1, fk2) 
  REFERENCES dataset_name.table_name_2(a, b) NOT ENFORCED)

Additionally there is a new TABLE_CONSTRAINTS view. It is a new Metadata view to see the key references for a dataset. This will be also explained more in detail in the upcoming blog post.

Dynamic Data Masking

Google introduced a nice way of data security in May last year. We described it more in detail in this post.

With Data Masking, you can still give full data structure access to a person. But you can set up, that this person does not see the real data in some columns. And now Google improved that feature.

There are more Data Masking options available:

First four characters:

  • Just the first 4 characters are visible, the rest is replaced by XXXXX…
  • Available for Strings

Last four characters:

  • Just the last 4 characters are visible, the rest is replaced by XXXXX…
  • Available for Strings


  • The username gets replaced by XXXXX… (e.g.
  • Available for Strings

Date year:

  • The value gets truncated to the year, so it always show the first data of the year (e.g. 2023-01-01)
  • Available for Date, Datetime and Timestamp

With these options, the person with restricted access still knows all the columns and have an idea about the values inside, to transform the data. 

Quick tip: I think Google is watching our YT Videos. Thomas from the datadice team already mentioned exactly this new feature in the past and now it is there.
Evidence: Youtube (14:53)

Azure Blob Storage Transfer

There is a new transfer service available in BigQuery.

If you have data in Azure and you would like to have it in BigQuery too, you can use the Azure Blob Storage Transfer now. 

You can find a configuration guide here.

For the Connection you need from Azure:

  • The storage account name
  • Container name
  • SAS Token


A new section in our monthly blog post updates!

We are working more and more with Dataform on several projects. Because of that, we will establish a new part for Dataform in this series. 

But for now, no further release for Dataform.

Looker Studio

No further release for Looker Studio. I think the first time in this series.

Google Analytics

Handling reports with (other) rows

This is still one of the biggest issues in GA4.

GA4 has for all the data dimensions a limited number of different values it can show, called cardinality. After the different values exceed the limit, the rest will be shown as “(other)”

Due to the quite small cardinality limits in the default reports, it can happen that 90% or even more of the data is aggregated under “(other)”.

Google improved this in two ways:

  • In a default report you can select to create this report in Explore again (Explorations do not have the “(other)” row) 
  • Just for GA4 360: flag up to 100 reports that should not contain the “(other)” row any more

Sampling methods (GA4 360 Properties)

Google is sampling a certain amount of data in your reports. At least for GA4 360 users you can choose now between two different modes:

Data Quality Icon

Google wants to give you a quick overview about the current data status in your reports.

There was an icon at the top of overview reports or snapshot reports to show e.g. if there is any sampled data inside.

Now they show this icon on top of every chart.

Google Tag Manager

Add untagged pages to tag coverage summary

In August 2022 Google released a new service called “Tag Coverage”. Here you are getting an overview of which and how many pages are:

  • tagged 
  • Not tagged
  • never tagged the last 30 days, but somewhen before
  • Tagged the last 30 days

In our projects, we usually have 0 not tagged pages. Google wants to change it by adding not tagged pages to this summary.

There are still some open questions, especially regarding the approach to how this will be done. The Release Notes say that you should open the Tag Assistant and go to the page which is not part of the tracking.

After trying it out I see no changes in the summary, maybe it takes more time or Google has another approach to fill that KPI.

Further Links

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