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If you are connecting to your git repository using SSH protocol, Looker requires an SSH deploy key to authenticate requests to the remote git repository to do things like push, pull, commit, etc. It's part of hooking Git up to Looker if you're using an SSH connection. This doc explains how to use it when setting up a Git repository with Looker using SSH.
The public key is just a text file, and it's what Looker shows you when setting up the Git connection.