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Google Cloud billing tutorials: Because surprises are for home makeover shows, not your wallet

November 5, 2021
Jen Person

Senior Developer Relations Engineer

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Let's face it: billing is probably not the most fun or glamorous part of building an app or service, but it's definitely one of the most important parts. And since billing isn't particularly exciting, let's start with a surprise!


Just kidding! No surprises here. The truth is, I'm a routine-oriented person who doesn't like surprises. 

I happily eat the same breakfast at the same time every morning. I have a white board calendar on which I tend to write the same weekly activities that I will complete. When I find a dish I like at a restaurant, then you can bet that's what I'm going to order every time. When my family asks me what I want to do for my birthday, I say that I want the same things I do every day because I'm lucky enough to always do the things I love. A surprise party wouldn't make me happy. Call me boring, but that's just me and I'm glad I get to live the way that makes me happy! 

And since I'm all for knowing what to expect, I'm the perfect person to laud the merits of knowing what to expect from your Cloud bill.


Billing should be boring!

Perhaps you're more into spontaneity than I, but even people who like surprises don't enjoy a surprise bill. Bills are best when they're boring–that is, you know exactly how much you're going to pay. Fortunately, Google Cloud can help you prevent surprises using documentation on billing, including how-to guides, concepts, and of course, support

These resources show you how to calculate costs, develop a budget, and understand the components of your bills. Since you view your budget in the Google Cloud Console, wouldn't it be nice if you could easily apply how-to steps in the Google Cloud Console? Well now you can! Thanks to walkthroughs right in the Google Cloud Console, you can complete billing tasks while getting step by step guidance in the same window.

There tutorials are great because:

  • The tutorials include links and highlights, making it easy to find the screens and buttons you're looking for

  • You can view the instructions and the console at the same time. No more playing the tab game!

  • You can run code from Cloud Shell, so you don't need a separate window for an IDE

  • You can use the demo data provided to try things out, or you can apply the steps to your existing projects using data that suits your app's needs

Let's take a look at some billing-related walkthroughs.


Billing tutorials

Here are some tutorials on billing you can try out:

Understanding and Analyzing your Cost with Google

Familiarize yourself with some of the built-in reports and learn how to customize them to answer questions such as:

  • How much am I spending?

  • What are my cost trends?

  • What are my cost drivers?

  • What is the breakdown of my spend by product?

Billing Tour

Walk through the basics of how to understand and manage your costs using the Google Cloud Console.

Analyze your Cloud Billing Data with BigQuery

  • Create a "Billing Administration" project to hold all exported billing data.

  • Create a BigQuery dataset to hold all exported billing data from all projects linked to the same Cloud Billing account.

  • In Cloud Billing, enable billing data to export to that BigQuery dataset.

  • Run some sample queries through the BigQuery web interface to examine billing data.

Manage Payment Methods and Settings

Walk through the basics of Google payments, including the payment methods for your Google Cloud account and how to manage and update your payments profile.

Tour of Google Cloud Budgets

  • Navigate to a billing account.

  • Set up a budget on the billing account.

  • Define some thresholds for the budget.

  • Set the default email recipients for the budget alert emails that are triggered by the thresholds.

Expect more to come

I've been creating lots of in-console walkthroughs since discovering the format because I think they provide a brilliant format for learning new concepts and trying out products. You can see some Firestore tutorials I've put together. Stay tuned to the blog to see what other topics I'm making tutorials on. 

I guess this means it'll be a surprise. Maybe surprises are actually good sometimes!

Chime in

Is there a particular action or concept in Billing that you'd like to see a tutorial for? Is there another Google Cloud product that you want to learn more about? Tweet @ThatJenPerson and you may just see your suggestion come to life in the Google Cloud Console!

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