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Tableau to broaden data visualization tool with Tableau 10 update

Tableau is getting set to release the 10th version of its self-service reporting tool, with updates in several key areas intended to silence some of its critics.

Tableau Software, makers of the popular data visualization tool, will soon release an updated version of the software that the company said will support deeper dives into data and simplified access to more sources.

The release, which is expected in the next few weeks, is the 10th version of Tableau's visualization software. It includes support for k-means clustering, an advanced analytics method for identifying patterns in data. There is also a new tool for highlighting subsets within larger data sets that lets users call out a cluster of data points within a visualization while maintaining the rest of the data set in the background.

The new release also features new connections to data sources. Tableau 10 will be able to integrate with Google Sheets, Quickbooks Online and Kognitio, and it will support cross-database file joins, which will allow users to pull into the software data from different sources and analyze it without lengthy data preparation processes.

Supporting k-means clustering and cross-database joins takes aim at two of the more common criticisms of Tableau's data visualization tool, which are that it doesn't do enough in advanced analytics and its extract, transform and load capabilities are lacking.

Tableau 10 also updates its mobile features. Dashboard designers can create views that automatically resize elements of the dashboard based on the device a user is on. Designers can also specify which information to show based on a user's device. This is intended to help designers avoid clogging the viewing area on a mobile device with information that a mobile user is unlikely to need.

Additionally, the software update features a new look and feel.

Tableau product manager Ashley Bass said the new version of the data visualization tool features a number of updates that may seem relatively small at first, but deliver functionality that users have been asking for. For example, she described the cross-database joins functionality as "deceptively simple," but added that it's going to be "a game-changer for Tableau users." 

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