How To Enable Google APIs for API Key

Google may still claim not to do evil. They should also try not to be obtuse as well.

I wanted to get the longitude and latitude of a few hundred cities, which is straightforward using ggmaps and Google’s geocoding API. (I tried Geonames but never received the new account confirmation e-mail. It did not go to spam.) I already had an API key from a previous Google Project. Of course, nothing is ever straightforward, and the initial error I received reminded me that I have to enable each endpoint for my API key. That is, Google will give me access to all of their amazing services and will gladly bill me, but I first have to dig around and tell it exactly which service I want to use. I suppose there is some business case somewhere for this, though I fail to find it. Annoying.

What turns the annoyance into aggravation, however, is the horrible horrible horrible menu design of the Google Cloud Platform. Google Maps Platform (part of GCP? Who knows!) tells you how to use the geocoding API, but by “tell you how to use” I mean they tell you to enable whichever endpoint you want for your API key. I had already confirmed that billing was enabled for my project. I finally made headway after seeing Ashwin Valento’s answer to this Stack Overflow question. Ashwin says to select “ENABLE API AND SERVICES” from the top left corner of your project view. With that clear guidance, I navigated to my project page.

However, Google is a big company, which means many of its bullshit jobs surely focus on updating interfaces in a way that only makes sense to the teams in charge of updating interfaces. If you click on “APIs & Services”, you are taken to a large screen with charts. You also have a new set of navigation links in the left toolbar. I now see, as I write this, that there is a “+ ENABLE APIS AND SERVICES” link above the charts and separate from the navigation bar. I missed this the first several times, so I eventually found another way. This other way is to keep scrolling down the navigation bar of the project page until I saw “OTHER GOOGLE SOLUTIONS” -> “GOOGLE MAPS PLATFORM” -> “APIS”. I could then choose the APIs to enable, and now everything works.

So, my fault for not knowing that I could navigate to where I wanted to from a navigation link not even part of the API navigation toolbar or menu. Google’s fault for designing a horrible interface and help documentation.

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