Getting started

This page explains how developers can get started using Google Cloud APIs.

If you are using Google Cloud APIs for the first time, you can follow the steps in this guide to call the APIs using curl commands. You can use curl commands to experiment with an API before you develop your application.

Creating a Google account

To use Google Cloud APIs in your applications, you first need to have a Google account. This allows you to use Google developer products, including Google Cloud console, gcloud CLI, Cloud Logging, and Cloud Monitoring. 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.

Creating a Google project

To use Cloud APIs, you also need to have a Google project. A project is equivalent to a developer account. It serves as a resource container for your Google Cloud resources. It also provides an isolation boundary for your usage of Google Cloud services, so you can manage quota limits and billing independently at the project level. Usage telemetry and dashboards are grouped by projects as well. If you don't already have a project, you can create one using the Google Cloud console.

A project can own a wide range of resources, including API keys, OAuth clients, service accounts, Compute Engine VMs, Cloud Storage buckets, and BigQuery datasets. When an application calls a Cloud API, the project that owns the application credentials is called the client project, and the project that owns the target resource is called the resource project. One API request may touch multiple resources, hence multiple resource projects are involved.

If you want to stop using Google Cloud for any reasons, you can use Google Cloud console to delete your project. Your project and all resources in the project will be deleted after the retention window. Note that different types of data have different retention periods.

Discovering APIs

Before using any Cloud APIs, you should use Google Cloud console API Library to browse available Cloud APIs and discover the ones that best meet your business needs. For more information about a specific Cloud API, visit its public documentation site, such as Spanner API.

Enabling APIs

Some Cloud APIs are enabled by default. To use a Cloud API that is not enabled by default, you must enable it for your project. Depending on which services and which projects are involved from your application, including the client project and resource projects, you may need to enable an API for multiple projects. When you enable an API that depends on other APIs, those APIs are also enabled at the same time.

Enabling an API requires you to accept the Terms of Service and billing responsibility for the API. You need permission on the project to enable APIs. For more information, see Service Usage Access Control.

In addition, the service to enable must either be public, or else the service owner must grant the user the permission on the private service. See Service Management Access Control for more information.

To enable an API for a project using the console:

  1. Go to the Google Cloud console API Library.
  2. From the projects list, select the project you want to use.
  3. In the API Library, select the API you want to enable. If you need help finding the API, use the search field and/or the filters.
  4. On the API page, click ENABLE.

From the same page you can disable an API for your project if you no longer use it to avoid misuse and accidental billing charges. You can also enable and disable Cloud APIs using the gcloud CLI and the Service Usage API:

$ gcloud services enable
$ gcloud services disable

Enabling billing

Some Cloud APIs charge for usage. You need to enable billing for your project before you can start using these APIs in your project. The API usage in a project is charged to the billing account associated with the project.

If you don't have a billing account, go to the Google Cloud console billing page and follow the instructions to create one. Then link your billing account to your project.

Authenticating to APIs

How you authenticate to an API depends on your development environment and what authentication methods the API supports.

Setting up Application Default Credentials for use in a variety of environments is the most common approach, and is recommended for most applications. If the API supports API keys, that is another option. If your application needs to access Cloud resources owned by your end users, you create an OAuth 2.0 Client ID and use the authentication libraries.

For general information about authentication, see Authentication at Google.

Building applications

If you are building an application using Cloud APIs, we recommend you to use Google Cloud Client Libraries if available. The client libraries can handle common API features for your convenience, such as authentication, error handling, retry, and payload validation. You need to pass your application credentials to the client libraries during initialization, so the client libraries can make calls to Google Cloud APIs on behalf of your application.

See the following step-by-step guides that use the client libraries for some popular APIs:

For more information, see Client Libraries Explained.

More information