Cloud Trace API

The Cloud Trace API lets you send latency data to, and retrieve latency data from, Cloud Trace. To send data to Cloud Trace, we recommend that you use OpenTelemetry. OpenTelemetry is a Google-supported open source project with Google engineers staffed to ensure support for Cloud Trace.

To retrieve data from Cloud Trace, we recommend that you use the Cloud Trace API. By using the API, you have access to the exact data stored by Cloud Trace.

You can use the Cloud Trace API from applications you run locally or on any of the following environments:

Data sent to Cloud Trace using this API is available for display, reporting, and analysis in the Google Cloud console.

Versions and interfaces

There are two supported versions of the API:

  • Cloud Trace API v1 lets you send and retrieve latency data by using HTTP or by using RPC. For more information, see v1 REST and v1 RPC.

  • Cloud Trace API v2 lets you send latency data by using HTTP or by using gRPC. For more information, see v2 REST and v2 RPC.

For more details on how to automatically collect traces from an application, see the Client libraries documentation.

Data model

For information about the data model, see Traces and spans.

Generating trace_id and span_id

The client libraries for Trace automatically generate the trace_id and the span_id. If you don't use the Trace client libraries or the OpenTelemetry client libraries, then you must generate the values for these fields. In this case, you should use a pseudo-random or random algorithm. Don't derive these fields from need-to-know data or from personally identifiable information.


You can do the following with the Cloud Trace API:

  • Send traces to Cloud Trace
  • Update existing traces (v1 only)
  • Get lists of traces (v1 only)
  • Get the details of a single trace (v1 only)

The v2 API only supports sending trace data. There are no methods to retrieve the data.

Send spans

In the v2 API, you send trace data to Cloud Trace by using the REST method batchWrite or the RPC method batchWriteSpans.

In the v1 API, you construct a Trace object and then pass that to either a REST or gRPC method. The Trace object contains a collection spans. For the REST API, use the method patchTraces. For the RPC API, use the method PatchTraces.

Get a list of traces

To get a list of stored traces, send a request to the REST list or RPC ListTraces methods. You can pass a filter condition to these requests to retrieve only those traces that were sent between a specific start and end time. The list and ListTraces methods return a set of trace entities.

Get trace details

To get the details of particular trace, do the following:

  1. Find the ID of the trace. One way that you can find this information is by running the list command.

  2. Send a request to the REST get or RPC GetTrace methods. The request specifies the trace by its ID. These methods return a single trace entity.


To use the Cloud Trace API, you or the service account must have authorization to do so. Identity and Access Management defines permissions and roles you can use for authorization. For more information, see Cloud Trace access control.

When running on Google Cloud, authorization is normally provided by default. When running outside of Google Cloud, you obtain authorization by creating a service account and then copy its private key credentials to the computer with the application using the Cloud Trace API.

For more information, see Setting up authentication.

Explore the API

You can use the in-page Try It! feature in the REST interface documentation to explore the API functionality. Using Try It! helps you understand how to assemble the data that you pass to the API and the structure and content of the data it returns. See the documentation of the v1 API list method for an example.