Before you begin

This page outlines the steps you must take before using Recommendations AI.

Set up your project

You must create a Google Cloud project in order to access Recommendations AI. To set up a project, follow these steps:

  1. Go to the Google Cloud console Manage resources page.


  2. On the drop-down at the top of the page, select the organization in which you want to create a project.

  3. Click Create Project.

  4. In the New Project window that appears, enter a project name and select a billing account as applicable.

  5. If you want to add the project to a folder, enter the folder name in the Location box.

  6. When you're finished entering new project details, click Create.

  7. Enable the Recommendation Engine API for your Google Cloud project.


    Click the ENABLE button in the Google Cloud console to enable the API.

Set up authentication for your application

You must set up both of the following authentication methods to access the Recommendations AI API:

Create a service account

  1. Go to the Google Cloud console Credentials page.

  2. Select the project that you are creating credentials for (the project may already be selected).

  3. Click Create credentials and then select Service account key.

  4. Fill in the following fields:

    Field Value
    Service account New service account
    Service account name enter a name for your service account
    Role Service Accounts > Service Account Token Creator
    Recommendations AI > Recommendations AI Editor
    Key type JSON
  5. Click Create to create the service account.

    The JSON file that contains the public/private key for the new service account is automatically downloaded to your computer. This JSON file is the only copy of the key for your service account. Be sure to store it in a secure location. The JSON key file must be stored in a location that is accessible from your application (see your-service-account-json-key-file in Authenticating using a service account (OAuth 2.0).

Add the service account to your local environment

If you want to make calls to the Recommendations AI by using the cURL command-line tool, you'll need to make your service account available in your local environment. cURL uses the gcloud auth application-default print-access-token command to obtain an access token for your service account using the Google Cloud SDK. To download and install the SDK, see Cloud SDK. If you are using the Cloud Shell, the SDK is already installed.

The GOOGLE_APPLICATION_CREDENTIALS environment variable will not persist if you close down your command window. To make sure that the variable is set to the path to your service account file when you open a new command window, set the value in an initialization shell script.

  export GOOGLE_APPLICATION_CREDENTIALS=path-to-service-account-json-key-file

Create an API key

  1. Go to the Google Cloud console Credentials page.

  2. In the project drop-down at the top of the Google Cloud console page, select your project (the project may already be selected).

  3. Click Create credentials and then select API key. Do not add any referrer restrictions. Some user privacy settings are known to not pass the referrer url.

    • Take note of the generated API key, which you will use when calling user event logging and recommendation prediction APIs
  4. For increased security, add an HTTP restriction to your API Key to restrict access to the Recommendations AI service at*.

Register an API key for predict calls

API keys are the fastest and easiest way to provide authentication when you make a call to the predict method. However, if you also use API keys for other API calls, such as logging user events, the API key is embedded in your website, which means it is visible to your users. Because predictions include PII (personally identifiable information) and incur charges, Recommendations AI provides an extra layer of security for prediction calls by requiring you to register any API keys you use for calls to the predict method. You can register up to 20 keys per project.

  1. Create an API key specifically for predict calls by following the instructions in Create an API key.

  2. Register the key, using the predictionApiKeyRegistration.create method:

    curl -X POST \
     -H "Authorization: Bearer $(gcloud auth application-default print-access-token)" \
     -H "Content-Type: application/json; charset=utf-8" \
     --data "{
           "predictionApiKeyRegistration": {
                "apiKey": 'apiKey'

After you have registered an API key for prediction, you can see it in the Recommendations AI Dashboard page.


Authenticating using a service account (OAuth 2.0)

Here is a Java example of OAuth 2.0 authentication using a service account. More detailed instructions can be found in the authentication documentation. Google has client libraries in 7 languages that you can use to implement OAuth2 authentication in your application. If you prefer to implement the HTTP/REST directly, follow the REST authentication instructions.

In the example, replace your-service-account-json-key-file with the path to the JSON key file for your service account.

// Simple Java example of using Google Cloud OAuth client library.
// Please see here for the list of libraries in different languages:
// The following example depends on the Google API client library.
// Maven:
//    <dependency>
//      <groupId></groupId>
//      <artifactId>google-api-client</artifactId>
//      <version>1.22.0</version>
//    </dependency>
import java.util.ArrayList;
import java.util.Arrays;
import java.util.Collections;
import java.util.List;

public class RecommendationEngineApiSample {
  public static final String CREATE_CATALOG_ITEM_URL =

  public static GoogleCredential authorize() throws Exception {
    return GoogleCredential.fromStream(new FileInputStream("your-service-account-json-key-file"))
        .setExpirationTimeMilliseconds(new Long(3600 * 1000));;

  // Build an example catalog item.
  public static GenericJson getCatalogItem() {
    List<Object> categories = new ArrayList<Object>();
    categories.add(new GenericJson().set("categories", Arrays.asList("Electronics", "Computers")));
    categories.add(new GenericJson().set("categories", Arrays.asList("Laptops")));
    return new GenericJson()
        .set("id", "123")
        .set("title", "Sample Laptop")
        .set("description", "Indisputably the most fantastic laptop ever created.")
        .set("category_hierarchies", categories)
        .set("language_code", "en")
            new GenericJson()
                    new GenericJson().set("original_price", 1000.00).set("display_price", 800.00))
                .set("currency_code", "USD")
                .set("stock_status", "IN_STOCK")
                .set("available_quantity", 1219));

  public static void main(String[] args) {
    try {
      GoogleCredential credential = RecommendationEngineApiSample.authorize();

      HttpTransport httpTransport = GoogleNetHttpTransport.newTrustedTransport();
      HttpRequestFactory requestFactory = httpTransport.createRequestFactory();
      HttpRequest request = requestFactory.buildPostRequest(new GenericUrl(CREATE_CATALOG_ITEM_URL),
          new JsonHttpContent(new JacksonFactory(), RecommendationEngineApiSample.getCatalogItem()));
      HttpResponse response = request.execute();
      System.out.println("Response content: " + response.parseAsString());
    } catch (Exception e) {

Authenticating using an API key

Here is an example of authenticating using an API key from the command line using the curl command. Replace api-key with the API key that you created in the previous section.


  "user_attributes": {
  "user_event_detail": {

echo $URL
curl -H 'Content-Type: application/json' -X POST -d "${DATA}"  $URL