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Query without a credit card: introducing BigQuery sandbox

February 7, 2019
Felipe Hoffa

Developer Advocate, Google Cloud Platform

Chad W. Jennings

Geospatial Lead, Google Cloud

Today we are announcing the BigQuery sandbox, a credit-card free path to enable new users and students to experiment with BigQuery at no cost—without having to enter credit card information. As organizations begin to collect more and more data, many find that a serverless data warehouse like BigQuery is the only platform that can scale to meet their needs. BigQuery also provides a flexible web-based interface for running advanced queries on large public datasets. You can now explore both these benefits of BigQuery with no financial commitment whatsoever.

BigQuery is Google’s serverless cloud data warehouse that is so simple that you only need a Standard SQL query and your curiosity to start generating insights. If you’re interested in learning more from BigQuery’s documentation, you can find it here.

As a BigQuery sandbox user, you can access the same compute power as paying users, and just like paying users, you get to run SQL queries over large and small data sets as well as use new capabilities like BigQuery Machine Learning and BigQuery Geospatial Information Systems.

BigQuery sandbox provides you with up to 1 terabyte per month of query capacity and 10GB of free storage. All tables and partitions have a 60-day retention policy. Some features of BigQuery are not included in the sandbox (DML, Streaming, Data Transfer Service). If you want to use these capabilities, you can simply click on Upgrade in the console (see image below), which will guide you through the process of providing your payment information.


Who is this for?

We created BigQuery sandbox for users who want to try BigQuery for free without facing the hassle of first having to enter payment information.

  • Students can now use BigQuery for a class or a project without needing to worry about billing.
  • Government or civic employees who want to investigate BigQuery’s capabilities without needing to go through a spending approval process can simply log in, sign up and run a query.
  • Professional developers who want to experiment to see how BigQuery fits into their corporate architecture can test out their integrations.
  • Users of other Google products such as Firebase can now put their data in BigQuery (Firebase actually has an automated pipeline) to see how ad hoc analytics expands the questions that they ask of their data.
  • Scientists and academic researchers who are interested to learn about how cloud computing can transform their analysis.

The difference between BigQuery sandbox and the GCP free trial

Google Cloud Platform (GCP) has two introductory offers. BigQuery sandbox is a BigQuery-specific initiative to provide easy access to BigQuery without needing to grab your credit card. If you want to experiment with BigQuery right now and other GCP products after, then BigQuery sandbox is where you’ll want to start. Click on TRY BIGQUERY FREE (green oval).

The GCP free trial includes a $300 credit that applies across all Google Cloud Platform (GCP) products. If you want to experiment with multiple products, then you can activate the GCP free trial by clicking on the button that says “Try free” (black dashes). Note: the free trial does require a credit card.


Rolling up your sleeves in the BigQuery sandbox

To start, you can find the BigQuery webpage here. Click on the button that says “TRY BIGQUERY FREE.” Follow the prompts, and in four steps and less than 60 seconds, you’ll land at the BigQuery web interface ready to write your first query.

What will your first query be? BigQuery hosts dozens of interesting datasets as part of our public datasets program—you’ll find they’re an excellent place to get started.  Here are a few of our users’ favorite queries and their corresponding datasets:

Cartographers and lovers of maps:

Cryptocurrency or blockchain enthusiasts:

Software engineers:

Sports fans:

After you’ve run your query be sure to look for this button (see the green oval in the image below) to view your results in Data Studio, Google’s free data visualization product.


Some words from our partners and colleagues

BigQuery sandbox strives to make it fast and easy for you to try BigQuery and explore the public datasets and your own data. Here’s what our partners and colleagues are saying:

“Google’s integration of NOAA’s data into its platform’s tools, such as BigQuery, has enabled increased public usage by effectively removing many obstacles related to understanding scientific data formats and the preparation of data for analysis. By introducing lightweight subscriptions to Google services, coupled with limited free tiers of service, Google has lowered additional obstacles to entry for data users."

—Ed Kearns, NOAA’s Chief Data Officer

“BigQuery sandbox has helped thousands of Firebase projects better understand their application's usage, analyze the context of their crashes, and evaluate launch candidates. It gives them the tools to make meaningful decisions.”

—Eugene Girard, Firebase Technical Lead Manager

BigQuery is a team effort

The BigQuery team is keen to hear what you choose as your first query. Please let us know what your first query was by tweeting with the hashtag #bqsandbox. To learn more about BigQuery, RSVP for the BigQuery BBQ in a city near you, where you’ll cook up some exciting data insights over delicious food and win prizes. You’ll be joined by Google Developer Advocates Felipe Hoffa and Minhaz Kazi, to solve our data challenge contest using public datasets available in BigQuery. Or if you'd rather learn from Felipe Hoffa without traveling, you can find his tutorial blog post here, which includes additional content on data loading.

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