BigQuery public datasets

A public dataset is any dataset that is stored in BigQuery and made available to the general public through the Google Cloud Public Dataset Program. The public datasets are datasets that BigQuery hosts for you to access and integrate into your applications. Google pays for the storage of these datasets and provides public access to the data via a project. You pay only for the queries that you perform on the data. The first 1 TB per month is free, subject to query pricing details.

Public datasets are available for you to analyze using either legacy SQL or standard SQL queries. Use a fully qualified table name when querying public datasets, for example bigquery-public-data.bbc_news.fulltext.

You can access BigQuery public datasets by using the Cloud Console, by using the bq command-line tool, or by making calls to the BigQuery REST API using a variety of client libraries such as Java, .NET, or Python.

You can find more details about each individual dataset by clicking the dataset's name in the Datasets section of Cloud Marketplace.

Go to Datasets in Cloud Marketplace

Before you begin

To get started using a BigQuery public dataset, you must create or select a project. The first terabyte of data processed per month is free, so you can start querying public datasets without enabling billing. If you intend to go beyond the free tier, you must also enable billing.

  1. Sign in to your Google Cloud account. If you're new to Google Cloud, create an account to evaluate how our products perform in real-world scenarios. New customers also get $300 in free credits to run, test, and deploy workloads.
  2. In the Google Cloud Console, on the project selector page, select or create a Google Cloud project.

    Go to project selector

  3. Make sure that billing is enabled for your Cloud project. Learn how to confirm that billing is enabled for your project.

  4. BigQuery is automatically enabled in new projects. To activate BigQuery in a preexisting project, Enable the BigQuery API.

    Enable the API

Public dataset locations

Each public dataset is stored in a specific location like US or EU. Currently, the BigQuery sample tables are stored in the US multi-region location. When you query a sample table, supply the --location=US flag on the command line, choose US as the processing location in the Cloud Console, or specify the location property in the jobReference section of the job resource when you use the API. Because the sample tables are stored in the US, you cannot write sample table query results to a table in another region, and you cannot join sample tables with tables in another region.

Accessing public datasets in the Cloud Console

You can access the public datasets by using the Cloud Console. The bigquery-public-data project is automatically pinned to every project. You can find the project in the Resources section of the navigation pane.

To open the bigquery-public-data project manually using the Cloud Console, enter the following URL into your browser:

To find out when a data table was last updated, go to the table's Details section as described in Getting table information, and view the Last modified field.

Other public datasets

There are many other public datasets available for you to query, some of which are also hosted by Google, but many more that are hosted by third parties. Other datasets include:

Sharing a dataset with the public

You can share any of your datasets with the public by changing the dataset's access controls to allow access by "All Authenticated Users". For more information about setting dataset access controls, see Controlling access to datasets.

When you share a dataset with the public:

  • Storage charges are incurred by the billing account attached to the project that contains the publicly-shared dataset.
  • Query charges are incurred by the billing account attached to the project where the query jobs are run.

For more information, see Overview of BigQuery pricing.

Sample tables

In addition to the public datasets, BigQuery provides a limited number of sample tables that you can query. These tables are contained in the bigquery-public-data:samples dataset.

The requirements for querying the BigQuery sample tables are the same as the requirements for querying the public datasets.

The bigquery-public-data:samples dataset includes the following tables:

Name Description
gsod Contains weather information collected by NOAA, such as precipitation amounts and wind speeds from late 1929 to early 2010.
github_nested Contains a timeline of actions such as pull requests and comments on GitHub repositories with a nested schema. Created in September 2012.
github_timeline Contains a timeline of actions such as pull requests and comments on GitHub repositories with a flat schema. Created in May 2012.
natality Describes all United States births registered in the 50 States, the District of Columbia, and New York City from 1969 to 2008.
shakespeare Contains a word index of the works of Shakespeare, giving the number of times each word appears in each corpus.
trigrams Contains English language trigrams from a sample of works published between 1520 and 2008.
wikipedia Contains the complete revision history for all Wikipedia articles up to April 2010.

Contact us

If you have any questions about the BigQuery public dataset program, contact us at

What's next

Learn how to query a table in a public dataset at Quickstart using the Cloud Console.