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Latest Updates on Google Data Analytics (January 2024)

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, Dataform, 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, Dataform, Looker Studio, Google Analytics & Google Tag Manage.


New metadata views

There are two new metadata views available. The same information is available on project and organization level. 

The views are “PROJECT_OPTIONS_CHANGES” and “ORGANIZATION_OPTIONS_CHANGES”. You can use the following query example:


Just check that you choose the correct region.

You will see the timestamp when which user changed certain BigQuery configurations on the project or organization level. In this case, I changed the query job timeout limit to 1800000 ms and back to 0 ms. 

To change these configurations you can use this example query and the following guide for further information: 

  `REGION-EU.default_time_zone` = 'America/Chicago',
  `REGION-EU.default_kms_key_name` = KMS_KEY,
  `REGION-EU.default_query_job_timeout_ms` = 1800000,
  `REGION-EU.default_interactive_query_queue_timeout_ms` = 600000,
  `REGION-EU.default_batch_query_queue_timeout_ms` = 1200000

Vector Search

Google added the new function VECTOR_SEARCH() to search for certain entities. You can search in so-called embeddings, which are multi-dimensional vectors.

Let’s go through a quick example. You have the following two tables:

Two tables that include different vectors. Then you can execute the following VECTOR_SEARCH() function:

    TABLE dataset_name.table1,
    (SELECT person_name, embedding FROM dataset_name.table2),

This function calculates the distance between all the given vectors and combines them in a table.

This is just a basic example and there are a lot of extra parameters you can add to the SEARCH_VECTOR() functionality. The full documentation you can find here


VPC Service Controls

To explain what VPC Service Controls is a huge topic and we can not go through it in this post.

It is an additional layer of security to your services or data, f.e. to set up which other networks have access to your tools. Further information about this can be found here.

It was already possible to set BigQuery under certain VPC Service Controls. This is now possible for Dataform as well.

A guide on how to set it up is shown here.

Replaced Navigation menu

The new navigation menu “Releases and Scheduling” in the repository options handle the Release and Workflow configurations now. 

A nice adjustment, to have all the needed scheduling options in one view. 

Looker Studio

Custom Value Formatting (No Pro)

A feature you already know from Google Sheets!

You can change the look of metrics (numbers, currency, …) via custom value formatting. 

How it works:

  • You click on the chart where you want to change the look of a metric
  • Click on the aggregation method of the chosen metric
  • Change the “Display format” to some additional standard formats or define your custom format

It is a nice opportunity to make the metrics look clearer for the Analysts.

We will publish an own blog post for this in the next few days with more detailed instructions.

More Permission Controls (No Pro)

It is possible now to change some further permissions when you are a Google Workspace or Cloud Identity administrator. 

Google Analytics

General help

There are new options in the help menu available. To get this information you just need to click at the top right corner on the “?” button.

The options are:

  • Learn about this page: Further information for this report
  • Start Tour: Walkthrough most important report features
  • Get more help: Link to other resources for GA4 management
  • Send feedback: A prompt to send feedback to Google

Google Play recommendation

If there is a Google Play app associated with the GA4 property, but the app is unlinked, a prompt with some information appears. The prompt recommends linking your Play Console account with the Google Analytics account because then you get data access for e.g. in-app purchases, subscriptions, and many more.

Google Tag Manager

No further release for the Google Tag Manager.

Upcoming datadice blog posts for this month

  • Custom Value Formatting in Looker Studio - Coming Soon
  • PBI Row Level Security - Coming Soon
  • Dataform and GitHub - Coming Soon

Further Links

This post is part of the Google Data Analytics series from datadice and explains to you every month the newest features in BigQuery, Data Studio, Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager.

Check out our LinkedIn account, to get insights into our daily working life and get important updates about BigQuery, Data Studio and marketing analytics.

We also started with our own YouTube channel. We talk about important DWH, BigQuery, Data Studio and many more topics. Check out the channel here.

If you want to learn more about how to use Google Data Studio and take it to the next level in combination with BigQuery, check our Udemy course here.

If you are looking for help to set up a modern and cost-efficient data warehouse or analytical dashboards, send us an email to and we will schedule a call.