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What Is Web Scraping And Why It Is Important?

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In today’s digital world data are becoming more valuable. If we look around, we will see a huge amount of different services that are supposed to make our life better and easier. They try to help us, give a piece of advice, help to find the necessary information. From giants like Google to startups and small pilot projects, all of these services work with data. At the heart of any task that is to be solved today by a machine or a person is data.

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On the other hand, there is no reason to complain about the lack of data in the modern world. Data are generated and accumulated by companies and devices, their storage volumes are growing exponentially, but, of course, the most promising source is the Internet. Formerly, the Internet was a small American network for several hundred people, in which almost everyone knew each other. Now it is a giant information structure. It is almost impossible to control the flow of information.

All this variety of information is now actively used not only by people but also by companies for increasing the efficiency of their activities. The life of people is now changing so rapidly that traditional personal data are simply not enough to assess the behavior of a borrower (if it is a bank), a buyer (in the case of a retail network). 

As the flow of information is growing, the possibilities for applying this information to relevant tasks develop technical approaches, united by the general term “web-scraping”.

Web scraping tools are designed to extract, collect any public information from websites. These tools are useful when you need to get and save in a structured form any data from the Internet quickly. Web scraping is a new data entry method that does not require re-entry or copy-pasting.

What is web scraping?

If the only way to access the Internet is the browser, you lose a huge range of options. Although browsers are convenient for executing JavaScript, displaying images and representing objects in a more readable format (among other things), web scrapers are used for collecting and processing large amounts of data. Instead of viewing a single page once on the monitor display, you can view databases that already contain thousands or even millions of pages. Also, web scrapers can penetrate places where traditional search engines can not access.

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Web scraping goals

  1. Data collection for market research. Web-based data extraction services help to monitor the situation in which the company or the industry will seek in the next six months, providing a powerful foundation for market research. Web scraping software is capable of receiving data from a variety of data analytics providers and market research firms, and then gather this information into one place for reference and analysis.
  2. Extracting contact information. Web scraping tools can be used to collect and organize data such as email addresses, contact information from various sites and social networks. This allows you to create convenient lists of contacts and all related information for business – data about customers, suppliers or manufacturers.
  3. Downloading solutions with StackOverflow. With the tools of web scraping, you can create solutions for offline use and storage, collecting data from a large number of web resources (including StackOverflow). This way, you can avoid dependence on active Internet connections, since the data will be available regardless of whether it is possible to connect to the Internet.
  4. Search for work or employees. For an employer who is actively looking for candidates to work in his company, or for a job seeker who is looking for a specific position, web scraping tools will also become indispensable: they can be used to set up data sampling based on the various attached filters and effectively receive information without a routine manual search.
  5. Tracking prices in different stores. Such services will be useful for those who actively use the services of online shopping, tracking the prices of products, looking for things in several stores at once.

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There are a lot of areas where access to data of practically unlimited volume is required. Market forecasting, machine translation, and even medical diagnostics have already gained tremendous benefits, taking advantage of the opportunity to collect and analyze data from news sites, translated content, and messages in medical forums. Regardless of your subject area, there is almost always a way that web scraping can improve the efficiency of business practices, increase productivity, or even offer a completely new direction in business.


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