A Tour of Qwiklabs and the Google Cloud Platform



The Google Cloud Platform (GCP) is a suite of cloud services hosted on Google’s infrastructure. From computing and storage, to data analytics, machine learning, and networking, GCP offers a wide variety of services and APIs that can be integrated with any cloud-computing application or project — be it personal or enterprise-grade.

What you will learn

In this lab, you will do the following:

  • Learn about the Qwiklabs platform and identify key features of a lab environment.
  • Learn about (and possibly purchase) Qwiklabs credits and launch an instance of a lab.
  • Learn how to access the GCP console with specific credentials.
  • Learn about GCP projects and identify common misconceptions that surround them.
  • Learn how to use the GCP navigation menu to identify types of GCP services.
  • Learn about primitive roles and use the Cloud IAM service to inspect actions available to specific users.
  • Learn about Cloud Shell and run commands that use the gcloud toolkit.
  • Learn about the API library and examine its chief features.
  • Use tools that are pre-installed in Cloud Shell and run commands like touch, nano, and cat to create, edit, and output the content of files.


This is an introductory level lab and the first lab you should take if you’re unfamiliar with GCP or Qwiklabs. If you are already experienced with Qwiklabs and the Google Cloud Platform Console, check out the following labs (if you decide to take one, make sure you end your lab now):

Qwiklabs Fundamentals

Features and components

Regardless of topic or expertise level, all Qwiklabs share a common interface. This lab that you’re taking should look quite similar to the following:

Start Lab (button)

Clicking this will create a temporary GCP environment with all the necessary services and credentials enabled so you can get dive in and get hands-on practice with the lab’s material. Once clicked, you will start a countdown timer that gives you a set amount of time to complete the lab’s steps. Once the timer hits 00:00:00, your lab environment and temporary credentials will be deleted.


The price of a lab. 1 Credit is usually equivalent to 1 US dollar (the more credits you purchase, the bigger the discount you receive.) Introductory level labs (like this one) cost 1 credit, fundamental level cost 5, advanced 7, and expert cost 9 credits. The more specialized labs cost more because they involve heavier computing tasks and demand more GCP resources.


Specifies the amount of time you have to complete a lab. As mentioned earlier, once you click the “Start Lab” button the timer will count down until it reaches 00:00:00. When it does, your temporary GCP environment and resources will be deleted. Ample time is given to complete a lab, but make sure you don't work on something else while a lab is running—you risk losing all of your hard work!


Most, but not all labs include a score. This feature is called “activity tracking” and ensures you complete specified steps in a lab. To pass a lab with activity tracking, you need to complete all the steps in order (only then will you receive completion credit.)

Purchasing Credits

If you haven’t already, click on the Start Lab button now. If you have an “Access Code” (a coupon that covers the cost of a single lab regardless of expertise level) or have already purchased credits, you can skip down to the next section “Starting a Lab”. Otherwise, click BUY CREDITS. This will take you to a new page that offers different credit packages:

Starting a Lab

Now that we understand the key features and components of a lab, click on the Start Lab button in the top-right corner. If you have an Access Code, enter it in now and click Launch with an Access code. Otherwise, click Launch with 1 Credit:

Test your understanding

Answer the following multiple choice questions to reinforce your understanding of the concepts we’ve covered so far.

Accessing the GCP Console

Key Terms

Now that your lab instance is up and running, take a look at the Connection Details panel on the left-hand side. It should be populated with an Open Google Console button and Username, Password, and GCP Project ID fields.

Open Google Console

This is a button that takes you to the Google Cloud Platform Console — the web console and central development hub for GCP. As you start working in GCP, you will be doing the majority of your work from this interface. All of the GCP Qwiklabs use the console in some form or another.

GCP Project ID

A GCP Project is an organizing entity for your Google Cloud resources. It often times contains resources and services — for example, it may hold a pool of virtual machines, a set of databases, and a network that connects them with one another. Projects also contain settings and permissions, which specify security rules and who has access to what resources.

Username and Password

These are credentials representing an identity in the GCP Identity and Access Management (IAM) service that has access permissions (a role or roles), which allow you to work with GCP resources in the project you’ve been allocated. These credentials are temporary, and will only work for the access time of the lab. This means that once the timer hits 0, you will no longer be able to access your GCP project with those credentials.

Signing in to GCP

Now that you have a better understanding of the Connection Details panel, let’s use the details it contains to sign in to the GCP Console. Click on the Open Google Console button. This will open the GCP sign in page in a new browser tab.

Test your understanding

Answer the following multiple choice questions to reinforce your understanding of the concepts we’ve covered so far.

Projects in the GCP Console

We touched on GCP projects earlier when we examined the components of the “Connection Details” panel. Here’s the definition once again:

Test your understanding

Answer the following multiple choice questions to reinforce your understanding of the concepts we’ve covered so far.

Navigation Menu and Services

In the top-left corner, you will notice a three-line icon that resembles the following:

  • Compute: houses a variety of machine types that support any type of workload. The different computing options let you decide how involved you want to be with operational details and infrastructure amongst other things.
  • Storage: data storage and database options for structured or unstructured, relational or non relational data.
  • Networking: services that balance application traffic and provision security rules amongst other things.
  • Stackdriver: a suite of cross-cloud logging, monitoring, trace, and other service reliability tools.
  • Tools: services for developers managing deployments and application build pipelines.
  • Big Data: services that allow you to process and analyze large datasets.
  • Artificial Intelligence: a suite of APIs that run specific artificial intelligence and machine learning tasks on the Google Cloud platform.

Roles and Permissions

Earlier we mentioned that besides cloud computing services, GCP also houses a collection of permissions and roles that define who has access to what resources. We can use the Cloud Identity and Access Management (IAM) service to inspect and modify such roles and permissions.

  • Manage roles and permissions for a project and all resources within the project.
  • Set up billing for a project.

Test your understanding

Answer the following multiple choice questions to reinforce your understanding of the concepts we’ve covered so far.

APIs and Services

Google Cloud APIs are a key part of the Google Cloud Platform. Like services, the 200+ APIs in areas that range from business administration to machine learning all easily integrate with GCP projects and applications.

Test your understanding

Answer the following multiple choice question to reinforce your understanding of the concepts we’ve covered so far.

Cloud Shell

Now that you understand the key features of GCP and the console, you will get hands-on practice with Cloud Shell. Cloud Shell is an in-browser command prompt execution environment that allows you to enter commands at a terminal prompt to manage resources and services in your GCP project.

Welcome to Cloud Shell! Type "help" to get started.
Your Cloud Platform project in this session is set to qwiklabs-gcp-76ad0f1342e20013.
Use "gcloud config set project [PROJECT_ID]" to change to a different project.
gcpstaging23396_student@cloudshell:~ (qwiklabs-gcp-76ad0f1342e20013)$
gcloud auth list
Credentialed Accounts
* gcpstaging23396_student@qwiklabs.net
To set the active account, run:
$ gcloud config set account `ACCOUNT`
touch test.txt
README-cloudshell.txt  test.txt
nano test.txt
GCP and Qwiklabs are the best!
cat test.txt
GCP and Qwiklabs are the best!

Ending your lab

Now that you’re finished with the lab, click on the End Lab button at the top of this page.


Finish Your Quest

Continue your Quest with GCP Essentials. A Quest is a series of related labs that form a learning path. Completing this Quest earns you the badge above, to recognize your achievement. You can make your badge (or badges) public and link to them in your online resume or social media account. Enroll in this Quest and get immediate completion credit if you’ve taken this lab. See other available Qwiklabs Quests.

Next Steps / Learn More

Be sure to check out the following labs for more practice with essential GCP services:

Google Cloud Training & Certification

…helps you make the most of Google Cloud technologies. Our classes include technical skills and best practices to help you get up to speed quickly and continue your learning journey. We offer fundamental to advanced level training, with on-demand, live, and virtual options to suit your busy schedule. Certifications help you validate and prove your skill and expertise in Google Cloud technologies.

Continue questing


A Tour of Qwiklabs and the Google



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