What Is Scraping? Automatically Collecting Data from the Internet
Jul 27th - 3min.
Scraping is a term that’s emerging increasingly. We give you a definition of scraping, but we will also discuss how this browser automation works and about its so-called grab culture. Read on and find out more.
Scraping is a term that’s emerging increasingly. We give you not only an understandable definition of scraping, but we will also discuss how this browser automation works and about its so-called grab culture. In addition, the largest scraping company ever will surprise you, because we’re talking about Google. Read on and find out more.
Scraping is almost as old as the internet. It is a method used to collect data automatically from the internet by imitating human behaviour. It’s simply a form of automation, more precisely browser automation.
Scraping, indexing, crawling or browser automation ...
Whether we’re speaking about scraping, indexing or crawling, it’s all the same. Scraping is a technique with many applications. Take Dux-Soup as an example. This is a Chrome plug-in with which you can automatically visit LinkedIn profiles. That’s also a way of scraping, instead of collecting data, your browser is automated and that’s what scraping comes down to. Discover everything about LinkedIn automation tools in this blog. More and more companies are requesting scraping software. Why?
Everything is available on the internet. It will be those who can extract this data the best, that will become the winners of tomorrow! - Timothy Verhaeghe
Get started with your data
Once you have downloaded the data from the internet, you can save it in a separate database or in a handy format, such as Excel, Google Drive or in an API ... Then you can get started with the collected insights and data. To continue with the previous example, if you crawled LinkedIn profiles, you can now (automatically) start following them or send them a personal (automated) message. In short, scraping is the future.
Scraping: a culture of grazing
Scraping is an umbrella term with a negative connotation, which is not entirely correct. It almost sounds like a farmer reaps his field once and harvests everything, but it clearly doesn't work like that.
Browser automation works like this: the bot opens a browser, navigates to a site and performs actions such as clicking buttons, scrolling and filling in forms. Finally, this web browser automation tool will close the site. Just as you as a person could do. Want to learn more about the different types of scraping? Then take a look at "3 different scraping methods".
Google, the largest scraping company
Google will talk about indexing and website crawlers, never about scrapers.
"Search engines are not brutal farmers! No, they extract data from your website to make you grow"
Or that's how they would describe themselves. Basically, scrapers and crawler bots are one and the same.
Search engines are one of the largest technology developers in scraping. Giants like them invest a lot of money in developing "scraping programs", more precisely browser automation or crawler bots to be able to scrape websites. Google and its variants call themselves crawlers, in other words, they index website pages to show them in their search results. Crawling, indexing or data mining are nicer words for scraping.
In snack format
- Scraping: automatically collecting data from the internet by imitating human behaviour. The best-known application is browser automation.
- The term scraping has a negative connotation, but that isn’t necessary at all.
- Crawling, indexing and data mining are synonyms for scraping.
- Google and its variants are giant scrapers.