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Tableau: Google for Structured Data?

By - August 31, 2004

Gary points me to this Stanford-originated startup, I’m ashamed to say this is the first I’ve heard of it: Tableau. The company was slashdotted about four hours ago and the site appears to be down. Ah, fame.

The Seattle PI has a write up here.

Started as a government research project on the Stanford campus seven years ago, the team behind Tableau worked down the hall from Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. In fact, the two companies share more than a common address, co-founder and CEO Christian Chabot said.

“We are like the sister company of Google in some sense, and I want to say that lightly so it is not misinterpreted,” Chabot said. “But Google was trying to make unstructured databases easy to use, and Tableau was founded to make structured databases easy to use.”

The difference is that Tableau’s software creates a graphical interface for “old-fashioned” databases such as Oracle, SQL Server and Excel while Google’s technology is built for unstructured data on the Internet, he said

Slashdot thread here.

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4 thoughts on “Tableau: Google for Structured Data?

  1. Over the years, the database tools market has been beaten down into a fine powder, so I wouldn’t bother much with yet another data visualization tool. There’s an entire phylum of startups based on “We’re going to take X, and make it easy to use”, where X = data mining, DNA mapping, quantum mechanics, filtering pron out of battellemedia.com, or whatever. Most fail.

  2. Otis says:

    I agree. Grokker, ThinkMap, and others are all very nice to look at, everyone’s eyes open wide when they first see them, jaws drop sometimes, but I feel that in the end a tabular, ASCII or _simple_ GUI displays work best. On the other hand, some of these companies have managed to survive for a long time, so somebody must be buying their products. Another company in this space is Antartica Systems (http://www.antarctica.net/), where Tim Bray used to be the CEO.

  3. Otis says:

    I agree. Grokker, ThinkMap, and others are all very nice to look at, everyone’s eyes open wide when they first see them, jaws drop sometimes, but I feel that in the end a tabular, ASCII or _simple_ GUI displays work best. On the other hand, some of these companies have managed to survive for a long time, so somebody must be buying their products. Another company in this space is Antartica Systems (http://www.antarctica.net/), where Tim Bray used to be the CTO.

  4. note says:

    Old articles seems more useful,”We’re going to take X, and make it easy to use”. this right.