BigQuery - Generate Unique Values

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In SQL Server or other database systems, IDENTITY, GUID or other autoincrement features are presenting to support generating a unique value for each row. In BigQuery, the support is very limited. We can use UUID or numbering functions to implement similar ones.

GENERATE_UUID

This function returns a random UUID as STRING. It is similar as function NEWID in SQL Server. The returned string is in the form xxxxxxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxx.

Example:

SELECT
  GENERATE_UUID() AS ID;

Sample output (in JSON format):

[
  {
    "ID": "d51e9e92-561e-4746-9b41-ed6c6df22b7d"
  }
]
warning When considering about performance, UUID is not the best option to be used as join keys for JOIN operations. 

ROW_NUMBER function

We can also use numbering functions like ROW_NUMBER to generate a sequential unique numbers when saving data to BigQuery tables.

Example:

SELECT
  *,
  ROW_NUMBER() OVER (ORDER BY CustomerID) AS ROW_NUM
FROM
  `test.dim_customer`;

Sample output (in JSON format):

[
  {
    "CustomerID": "77878d7f-4e4f-4633-b7c9-796229e06cd3",
    "CustomerNumber": "002",
    "Name": "Jason",
    "IsCurrent": true,
    "StartDate": "2021-02-01",
    "EndDate": "2021-03-12",
    "ROW_NUM": "1"
  },
  {
    "CustomerID": "cb68b654-8f29-4302-81a0-8929154a241c",
    "CustomerNumber": "003",
    "Name": "Celia",
    "IsCurrent": true,
    "StartDate": "2021-03-13",
    "EndDate": "9999-12-31",
    "ROW_NUM": "2"
  },
  {
    "CustomerID": "e42a8b6e-e558-43fe-b5c2-378e681652bf",
    "CustomerNumber": "001",
    "Name": "Raymond",
    "IsCurrent": false,
    "StartDate": "2021-01-01",
    "EndDate": "2021-03-12",
    "ROW_NUM": "3"
  },
  {
    "CustomerID": "e42a8b6e-e558-43fe-b5c2-378e681652bf",
    "CustomerNumber": "001",
    "Name": "Ray",
    "IsCurrent": true,
    "StartDate": "2021-03-13",
    "EndDate": "9999-12-31",
    "ROW_NUM": "4"
  }
]

References

UUID functions in Standard SQL  |  BigQuery  |  Google Cloud

Numbering functions in Standard SQL  |  BigQuery  |  Google Cloud

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