Published on September 8th, 2023 by Rahul Kumar Singh
Google ranks as the most popular search engine, and this popularity is connected to the vast amount of data it stores. People hear search engines, and Google is the first thing that comes to mind.
However, upon giving it enough thought, it might dawn on you that Google is a data-collecting business. Data is not just central to their business; it is their business.
Sure, many services are available, including Google Maps, Google Play, Google Images, Google Hotels, Google Analytics, Google Public Data Explorer, and more. However, all of these products and the data they funnel back to the company mean that Google is one of the largest corporate owners of public web data.
Therefore, when “Google’s wealth” comes up here, it refers to the extensive data it possesses rather than its market cap. Fortunately, businesses can leverage the data generated from these services. This article sheds light on how businesses can reap fair rewards by scraping Google’s service for its wealth.
How Valuable is Public Data for Businesses
Nearly every major business recognizes why data matters. They admit it can drive growth. As such, the same way Google leveraged its data over the past couple of decades to create an array of successful products and services; automobile companies, e-commerce platforms or sports franchises do the same.
The robustness of data in business is not restricted to any single industry. However, companies without the platforms to collect data are disadvantaged. Here are some ways it can prove very valuable to businesses:
- Businesses can use publicly available data to identify opportunities and innovate. A prime example would be the self-described public transit app, City Mapper, started by an ex-Google employee off publicly available data and is now valued upwards of $200 million.
- Businesses can scrape Google Analytics or search results and employ the data obtained to monitor the success of ad campaigns, marketing campaigns, and information on their website traffic.
- A smart way to identify pain points and develop suitable solutions is through public data.
- Social media mentions, and publicly available surveys are valuable sources of market insight. For example, investors looking for high-value deals or businesses looking to identify trends early can benefit from public data.
How Can Businesses Collect Public Data
Businesses can manually collect public data (or download it, where possible). But considering how inefficient such collection can be, many businesses prefer web scrapers and location proxies. As stated earlier, businesses can scrape Google services and other online public data sources relevant to their needs. And it’s achievable using a web scraper.
A web scraper is essentially a software that automatically collects data from webpages and stores them in a form that is suitable for analysis or manipulation. Specifically, the scraping operation begins when the scraper sends an HTTP request to the target website, like ringing a doorbell and waiting to be let in. Once it is in, the scraper parses the HTML code on the webpage and extracts the contents of the site in accordance with its configuration. The next step is to have the scraper store the extracted data locally.
Usually, it is not uncommon for web scrapers to be used along with a location proxy. This is especially true if extra speed is important or the content is geo-restricted. A proxy is an intermediary server that serves as a gateway between a user and the internet instead of a direct connection. Proxies grant anonymity by masking IP addresses and rerouting internet traffic through other locations. This rerouting operation can help businesses evade geo-blocks on content when scraping.
What are Some Business Use Cases of Google Data?
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Online businesses, websites, and blogs can employ insights obtained from Google SERP data and Keyword tools to improve the traffic and visibility of their sites.
- Competition analysis. Businesses can also scrape Google results for the keywords they are interested in and analyze the competition for the particular keyword accordingly.
- Pricing strategies. Scraping results from Google Shopping could help businesses track the prices of competing products and adapt their pricing strategy as needed.
- Identification of customer sentiments and trends via Google Trends.
- Business owners can use Google News to track market sentiments and identify potential investment opportunities.
Google possesses a significant wealth of data. Luckily, businesses that understand how important public data is to businesses can readily access some of the data. Unique market insights are attainable after analysis of the available data on Google Analytics, Google Trends, etc. In addition, Google Data Explorer is a gateway to even more sources of public data.
These data sources mean businesses ready to reap the potential rewards of the data evolution need only the tools and knowledge necessary to scale up ideas. Many successful startups and businesses have thrived off public data, and nothing stops new businesses from doing the same.