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When you love a good story, it’s probably because the storyteller shared the details with dexterity and control over the narrative.  

But when it comes to telling a story based on data, the story details can be hard to bring together. Fortunately Google is introducing a few features meant to make the storytelling details within Data Studio reports more convenient to pull together. Central to the new features is permitting customization to how reports are viewed and shared. These features build on benefits from three new features the company introduced in January.

Related Article: Google Data Studio Enhances Report Development With 3 New Features

Version History: Track Changes Over Time

Version History is probably the most important customization feature introduced to Data Studio. Version History allows users to see what has changed in Data Studio reports and data sources, then view and restore previous versions to compare changes and make adjustments.   

google data studio version history

Users access Version History when they edit a Data Studio report. The feature appears in the drop down menu under the “File” heading in the toolbar. Once selected, a menu of report versions appears at the right, displaying when previous versions were created, and by whom. Data Studio will then automatically keep a history of changes as a report is edited or data source is adjusted.   

The feature comes with a few caveats, however. For one, Version History covers iterations made after Feb. 19, 2019, so access to previous report and data source settings prior to that date are not possible. Second, data sources that had been eliminated in a version may need to be restored if trying to view the report from that time period.

Related Article: Behold, Google's Omnichannel Feedback Loop for Marketers

Short Links and Scheduled Email Delivery

Another feature new to this release is the ability to share a short link to a Data Studio report so other collaborators can use the report in web pages or other media. Users can configure the link to provide the recipient with the most current state of the report.

If a regular reporting schedule is needed, users can use the Scheduled Email Delivery feature to send reports to collaborators. The scheduler can email reports at daily, weekly, or monthly increments in a PDF format. The feature appears as a clock icon in the upper right of the user interface. 

google data studio email scheduler

Of all these changes, Version History is the most dramatic change because it is an inspired variation of version control, a concept that underpins the integrated development environments that developers use when programming. Developers rely on version control to help manage the details of the code that runs an app website or chatbot. Version control lets developers learn what work is done, and can even fork off a version to work on their own section of a code, permitting more productive workflow.  

Version control is also becoming a staple of machine learning modeling, and consequently programmatic marketing development. Programming languages are used to develop data models, with innovations that bring user friendliness to data sources, visualization and editing functionality. Thus it is essential for platforms like Google Data Studio to incorporate developer-inspired features, so marketers can collaborate in a way that keeps pace with developers while not having to deeply understand programming syntax to add their input.

The number of data sources that can be managed within Google Data Studio is increasing as more third parties provide data connectors — dependencies that allow apps and databases to interact with Data Studio. Google’s providing a version control feature will be a terrific decision for the data studio ecosystem, enhancing its story in the machine learning era.