Streaming and live tailing log entries

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This document describes how to view your log entries in real time by streaming and live tailing. Streaming logs lets you view log entries in real time and is available in the Logs Explorer. Live tailing lets you view log entries in real time and is available as the gcloud CLI command gcloud alpha logging tail and as the Cloud Logging API method entries.tail.

When you view and analyze your logs using the Logs Explorer, gcloud logging read, or the API method entries.list, you're viewing log entries that Cloud Logging has stored. When you stream or live tail log entries, you're viewing log entries as your applications write them to the Cloud Logging API.

Stream logs in the Logs Explorer

In the Logs Explorer, you can view your logs data in real time using Stream logs. When you use Stream logs, you can add a query to stream only those logs that match the query. To stream logs, do the following:

  1. Go to the Logs Explorer in the Google Cloud console:

    Go to Logs Explorer

  2. In the Query text box, enter a query and then click Stream logs.

    As Logging writes the logs data, only logs that match the query are shown in the Query results pane. If a query isn't provided, then Logging shows the recently stored log entries. Logs continue streaming until you select the scroll bar on the logs panel. When streaming has stopped, a Restart streaming button is shown.

    For information about queries, see Build queries in the Logs Explorer.

Use live tailing in the Google Cloud CLI

Live tailing lets you view your log entries in real time as Cloud Logging writes them, by using either the Google Cloud CLI or the Cloud Logging API.

For information on the API method for live tailing, see the entries.tail method.

Installing gcloud alpha logging tail

To use gcloud alpha logging tail, you need to have Python 3 and the grpcio Python package installed.

For instructions on how to install Python, see the Python page. For instructions on how to install the Python package manager, pip, that is needed to install the grpcio package, see The Python Package Installer page.

Complete the following steps to install gcloud alpha logging tail:

  1. Verify that you have the Google Cloud CLI installed. For instructions on how to install the Google Cloud CLI, see Installing Google Cloud CLI.

  2. Verify that you're using version 302.0.0 or greater of the gcloud CLI.

    gcloud version

    For instructions on updating the gcloud CLI, see gcloud components update.

  3. Install the gcloud CLI alpha components:

    gcloud components install alpha
  4. For MacOS, Linux, and Cloud Shell users:

    1. Install gRPC client libraries:

       sudo pip3 install grpcio
    2. Set the environment variable CLOUDSDK_PYTHON_SITEPACKAGES to any value:

  5. Use the following commands to set your Cloud project ID and to authenticate:

    gcloud config set project PROJECT_ID
    gcloud auth login

    To get the project ID, see Creating and managing projects.

  6. Verify that gcloud alpha logging tail is installed by running the following command:

    gcloud alpha logging tail

    The command displays the following message:

    Initializing tail session.

    You are now viewing the log entries for your Cloud project as Logging writes them.

    Log entries during a live-tail session.

For more information on using live tailing, see the gcloud alpha logging tail reference guide.

Buffering and ordering

Because Logging can receive log entries out of chronological order, live tailing provides a buffer-window setting so you can balance the tradeoff between viewing the log entries as they are being written and viewing them in ascending order. You can set the buffer window between 0 and 60 seconds.

Note the following characteristics of the buffer window:

  • The default buffer window is two seconds.

  • Logging delays ingesting the log entries for the duration of the buffer window.

  • If a log entry is written outside of the buffer window, then Logging returns the log entries as they are received.

When configuring the buffer window, you make a tradeoff between viewing logs as they are ingested and viewing the entries out of order.

Buffer window Tradeoff
0 seconds Newest log entries returned, but with more likelihood of them being out of order.
60 seconds A delay of 60 seconds before seeing the entries returned, but most of the logs are returned in ascending order.

Limits and quotas

The following table lists the limits and quotas for live tailing:

Limits and quotas Value
Entries returned per minute 60,000
If more than 60,000 entries match a filter, then Logging returns the count of entries in the response.
Open live-tailing sessions per Cloud project 10

Client limitations

For a Cloud project that writes lots of entries quickly, your client might be unable to consume them as quickly as they're being written. In this case, Logging limits the total number of entries sent, prioritizing the most recent entries. At the end of the tail session, Logging returns the number of entries that were not displayed due to the limits of the client.

Use live tailing with client libraries

Live tailing lets you view your log entries in real time as Cloud Logging writes them. For information on the API method for live tailing, see the entries.tail method.

This sample demonstrates live tailing log entries of a given logger.


To learn how to install and use the client library for Logging, see Logging client libraries.

import (

	logging ""
	loggingpb ""

// tailLogs creates a channel to stream log entries that were recently ingested for a project
func tailLogs(projectID string) error {
	// projectID := "your_project_id"

	ctx := context.Background()
	client, err := logging.NewClient(ctx)
	if err != nil {
		return fmt.Errorf("NewClient error: %v", err)
	defer client.Close()

	stream, err := client.TailLogEntries(ctx)
	if err != nil {
		return fmt.Errorf("TailLogEntries error: %v", err)
	defer stream.CloseSend()

	req := &loggingpb.TailLogEntriesRequest{
		ResourceNames: []string{
			"projects/" + projectID,
	if err := stream.Send(req); err != nil {
		return fmt.Errorf("stream.Send error: %v", err)

	// read and print two or more streamed log entries
	for counter := 0; counter < 2; {
		resp, err := stream.Recv()
		if err == io.EOF {
		if err != nil {
			return fmt.Errorf("stream.Recv error: %v", err)
		fmt.Printf("received:\n%v\n", resp)
		if resp.Entries != nil {
			counter += len(resp.Entries)
	return nil


To learn how to install and use the client library for Logging, see Logging client libraries.


public class TailLogEntries {

  public static void main(String[] args) throws Exception {
    // TODO(developer): Optionally provide the logname as an argument.
    String logName = args.length > 0 ? args[0] : "";

    LoggingOptions options = LoggingOptions.getDefaultInstance();
    try (Logging logging = options.getService()) {

      // Optionally compose a filter to tail log entries only from specific log
      LogEntryServerStream stream;

      if (logName != "") {
        stream =
                    "logName=projects/" + options.getProjectId() + "/logs/" + logName));
      } else {
        stream = logging.tailLogEntries();
      System.out.println("start streaming..");
      for (LogEntry log : stream) {
        // cancel infinite streaming after receiving first entry


To learn how to install and use the client library for Logging, see Logging client libraries.

const {Logging} = require('@google-cloud/logging');
const logging = new Logging();

 * TODO(developer): Replace logName with the name of your log.
const log = logging.log(logName);
console.log('running tail log entries test');

const stream = log
    filter: 'timestamp > "2021-01-01T23:00:00Z"',
  .on('error', console.error)
  .on('data', resp => {
    // If you anticipate many results, you can end a stream early to prevent
    // unnecessary processing and API requests.
  .on('end', () => {
    console.log('log entry stream has ended');

// Note: to get all project logs, invoke logging.tailEntries