google-bigquery Getting started with google-bigquery

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This section provides an overview of what google-bigquery is, and why a developer might want to use it.

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Analyzing 50 billion Wikipedia pageviews in 5 seconds (BigQuery beginner tutorial)

Hi everyone! This is a demo I love running for people that get started with BigQuery. So let's run some simple queries to get you started.


You will need a Google Cloud project:

  1. Go to
  2. If it tells you to create a project, follow the link to create a project, and create a project.
  3. Come back to


  • You don't need a credit card. Everyone gets a free 1TB for analysis each month.
  • BigQuery charges per query. Before running a query you will be able to see how much each query costs.

Let's query

  1. Find the pageviews for May 2015 at

Note: Google protects your data with the highest security standards (PCI, ISO, HIPAA, SOC, etc), but it's also easy to share data if you want so - as I did here.

  1. This table has 5 columns: datehour language title requests content_size. They basically say "this wikipedia page in this language had these many requests at this hour".

  2. This table has almost 6 billion rows (379 GB of data).

  3. To find out how many pageviews Wikipedia had during May, you can add up all the 6 billion lines of requests:

     SELECT SUM(requests) 
     FROM [fh-bigquery:wikipedia.pagecounts_201505]
  4. Did you notice how fast that was? (1.8s elapsed, 43.1 GB processed for me)

  5. Let's do something more complex. Let's run a regular expression over these 6 billion rows. How fast could this be?

     SELECT SUM(requests) req, title
     FROM [fh-bigquery:wikipedia.pagecounts_201505] 
     WHERE REGEXP_MATCH(title, 'Red.*t')
     GROUP BY title
     ORDER BY req DESC
     LIMIT 100     
  6. How fast was it for you? Did you find Reddit in the results?

Cost analysis

  1. This last query processed 269 GB: More than a quarter of the free monthly terabyte. Why?

  2. BigQuery looks at the columns you process on your query. 'title' is a big column - it contains text. The 'requests' column is only 43.1 GB.

  3. To make your free terabyte last, extract data to smaller tables. For example, I have a table with only the top 65,000 English Wikipedia pages pageviews. The same query processes only 1.18 GB - you can run almost a 1000 of them for free a month.

     SELECT SUM(requests) req, title
     FROM [fh-bigquery:wikipedia.pagecounts_201408_en_top65k] 
     WHERE REGEXP_MATCH(title, 'Red.*t')
     GROUP BY title
     ORDER BY req DESC
     LIMIT 100 
  4. You can't create tables with the free monthly terabyte - it's only for analysis. Activate your free $300 for new Google Cloud Platform accounts, or ask me here to do an extract for you. I will be happy to do so.

Loading data into BigQuery

To load data into BigQuery, you will need to activate billing for your project - try it with your free $300 for new accounts.

  1. Create a dataset in your project to load the data to:

  2. Find the raw logs shared by Wikipedia at

  3. wget one of these files into your computer, like

  4. Install the 'bq' tool.

  5. Load it into BigQuery:

     bq load -F" " --quote "" YourProjectName:DatasetName.pagecounts_20150616_16 pagecounts-20150616-160000.gz language,title,requests:integer,content_size:integer
  6. Wait a couple minutes. While you wait, let me explain that line: This is not a CSV file, it's a space separated file (-F" ") that doesn't use quotes (--quote ""), we choose a destination table in a dataset in your project (remember to create the dataset first), we chose the file to load, and we define the 4 columns this file has.

  7. Note that BigQuery will happily ingest .gz files, up to a certain size. For very large files it's better to un-compress them and put them in Google Cloud Storage first. That's what I did with the reddit comments that /u/Stuck_In_The_Matrix compiled. Those files were large, but BigQuery ingested them in 2 minutes or so.

Learn more

Ready for more advanced examples? See how to query Reddit and how to query the all the NYC taxi trips.

Follow for even more!

Installation or Setup

Detailed instructions on getting google-bigquery set up or installed.

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