Many external services that use the Google cloud require an API Key to work. But what is an API Key and how can you get one? This is what I’m going to explain you right now.
In this article we’ll see how to obtain an API Key to be able to use Google Cloud Translate, but the process is the same if we want to obtain an API Key for another Google Cloud service, such as Google Maps.
Lets start by the beginning… An API Key is nothing more than a string that we use as a license key for a particular service. In our example, a Google API Key will allow us to access any of Google’s cloud services from an external application. Without this key we can not make authenticated calls to Google Cloud services from a third-party application, and therefore the application that requires this key will not work.
Now that we understand what an API Key is, let’s see how to get one for Google Translate.
How to Create a New Account in Google Cloud Console
The first thing you need is an account in Google Cloud Console and a payment method in it. To do this, follow these steps:
- Access the Google Cloud Console and log in or, if you do not have an account yet, sign up.
- Open the left side menu of the console and select Billing.
- Click on the button New billing account. Keep in mind that if this is not your first billing account, you must first open the list of billing accounts. To do this, click on the name of your existing billing account near the top of the page and then click on Manage billing accounts.
- Enter the name of the billing account and your billing information. The options you’ll see depend on the country of your billing address.
- Click Submit and enable billing.
By default, the person creating the billing account is a billing administrator for the account. Once you have the account created and the billing information ready, you can continue with the following steps to obtain the API Key.
How to Create a New Project in Google Cloud
Go to the bar in the top of the window and in the drop-down you can see your created projects as well as the option to create a new one by clicking on the New Project button:
Now give the new project a name and create it by clicking on the corresponding button, as you can see in the following screenshot:
At this point you should already have the project created and selected, so let’s move on.
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Activate the Google Translate API
Before you can use a Google API in your project, you have to activate it. Go to the side menu and select the APIs & Services option:
Now you will see a screen with statistics about the APIs that you have activated. If you created the project from scratch by following the steps above, you won’t have any data yet, as you can see:
Click on the upper button Enable APIs and services to continue with the activation process of the API. This takes us to a search box where we have to look for the API we’re interested in. In this case, we want to use the Google Translate API. Type translate in the search box and click on the result Cloud Translate API:
This brings us to a screen with the description of the Cloud Translation API. Click on the Enable button to activate the API in our project:
We already have the Google Cloud Translation API activated. We’re almost there…
Create a new API Key for Google Translate
After activating the API, let’s see how to generate a new Key API to be able to use this service. We have to go to the side menu again and select the Credentials option:
On this screen we see a button with a drop-down and the text Create credentials. Don’t click on the button! Instead, open the drop-down by clicking on the arrow to the right of the button and select the API Key option.
This creates the new Key API. You can copy it if you want, although you can access it later:
How to Restrict Our API Key to Protect and Limit Its Use
To control the cost of Google Cloud by using the Google Cloud Translation API (or Google Translate, which is the same), we can do two things: restrict where you can use the API Key that we just created or limit the allowed quota to use the service itself.
In the screenshot above, if you click on the Restrict Key button you will go to the API Key restriction screen that follows:
There you can select to restrict the API Key by HTTP referrers, which means that you can only make calls to the Google Cloud Translate API using the API Key from certain domain names.
You must add the valid domain names in the text box that appears when selecting the HTTP referrers option. In our case, we have added here our domain name
On the other hand, go to the menu API’s & Services → Dashboard → Cloud Translation API → Quotas and there you will find a box called Characters. There you can modify the quota limits of the Google Cloud Translation API and reduce them, if necessary.
The price for Google Cloud Translation API at the time of writing this post is 20 USD per million translated characters, so make your numbers.
And that’s all! You already have your API Key ready to be used with the application you want. The process is a bit cumbersome at first, but following the steps you’ll get the API Key without problems. Try it and let me know if you need further assistance!