Getting Started

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

Creating a Google account

To use Cloud APIs in your applications, you first need to have a Google account. This allows you to use Google developer products such as the Cloud Console and Stackdriver Logging and Monitoring. If you don't have a Google account, you can sign up here.

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 Platform (GCP) resources. It also provides an isolation boundary for your usage of GCP services, so you can manage quota limits and billing independently at project level. Usage telemetry and dashboards are grouped by project as well. If you don't already have a project, you can create one using the 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 GCP for any reasons, you can use 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.

Enabling APIs

To use a Cloud API, you must enable it for your project. Depending on how many projects are involved, including the client project and resource projects, you may need to enable an API for multiple projects.

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

To enable an API for a project using the console:

  1. Go to the Cloud Console API Library.
  2. From the projects list, select a project or create a new one.
  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 Cloud SDK and Service Usage API.

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 Cloud Console billing page and follow the instructions to create one. Then link your billing account to your project.

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 handle common API features for your convenience, such as authentication, error handling, retry, and payload validation. For more information, please see Client Libraries Explained.

Getting and using application credentials

Cloud APIs only accept API requests from registered applications. This restriction helps API producers report and associate API usage to the correct Google project owning the application.

Cloud APIs use application credentials for identifying the calling applications. Credential types include API keys, OAuth 2.0 clients, and service accounts. For more information about authentication and application credentials, see Authentication Overview.

If you are new to Google APIs, and just want to run some manual tests before writing any code, you can use oauth2l to generate the request credentials and use them with the curl command.

More information

For more information about billing, see Create, modify, or close your billing account.

For information about enabling billing on your project, see Modify a project's billing settings.

For more information about using an API or command line tool to enable and disable APIs, see Enabling and disabling services in the Service Usage documentation.