by Semalt Writer
Web scraping is the common technique for the collection of data from the net. Saying it is just important is a big understatement. It is simply indispensable.
Information is power, and any organization that lacks it is deformed, so web scraping is the blood on which all types of online businesses run.
Whether it is an NGO, a profit-making organization, a startup, a medium enterprise, or even a Fortune 500 company, it definitely runs on gathered information.
So, the importance of web scraping cannot be over-emphasized.
The competition in the corporate world has never been tighter than it is now. Players within different industries now use every weapon within their disposal to compete.
Recently, organizations began to make use of web scraping as a weapon to combat their competitors.
After all, when you have more relevant information than your opponents, you will have an advantage over them. Knowledge, they say, is power.
Although web scraping industry is filled with numerous solutions, they can be grouped into only 3 categories, and they are:
Building your own data extraction application or software by yourself or by hiring programmers
Going for third-party web scraping services
Purchasing a generic data extraction software
All the three solutions have their advantages and disadvantages. Besides, the most suitable solution category for any company may depend on the web scraping needs of the business.
Like every other technology, web scraping will continue to develop and evolve. So, this article focuses on the future of web scraping.
Before going further, it is essential to make it clear that the opinions raised in this article about the future of web scraping are only speculative and imaginative possibilities.
Bearing that in mind, here, the future of web extraction is viewed from different perspectives.
From artificial intelligence perspective
Since artificial intelligence is being used in every sector of life, it is believed that the technology will be used tremendously for web scraping in the nearest future.
In other words, intelligent robots or machines will be created to monitor and scrape data on a regular basis for different companies.
Of course, robots are already being used for web scraping, but none of them can handle major changes on target websites without human intervention.
For instance, if the layout of a target site changes, existing web scraping tools won't be able to scrape the site without the user tweaking the tool a little bit.
This will not be a problem for future super-intelligent web scraping robots since they will be able to use their discretion to handle any modification on of their target sites
during web scraping with little or no human intervention. They will soon be created if they are not already being created.
From Google's angle
The biggest web scraper is Google because its core business is to crawl and scrape websites and it crawls every hosted websites and all their links.
It follows that Google may begin to render web scraping services. And if it does, it will be the biggest and the best web scraping company since it already scrapes the web.
Clients will only need to list out URLs of target web pages, and they will receive all the content they need from Google.
After all, the content of all websites is already in the databases of its index.
Another reason for Google to begin to render web scraping services is that it will require little or no additional efforts to make a killing with it.
The company survives by scraping websites already.
Having the required data in hand all the time will make Google offer a web scraping turnaround time that other service providers will never be able to match.
Since Google will be able to offer the service with no additional effort, it may also provide competitive prices that no other organization can match.
Just like how the company has virtually taken over the search engine industry, Google may eventually take over the web scraping sector as well. The odds are well in its favor.
From analysis and organization perspective
No matter how costly they may be, shoes are useless to a man without legs. So, data may not be of much use to an organization with poor analysis skills.
In fact, data itself is not so essential, it is how you can use it.
So, as companies continue to intensify their web scraping efforts,
they will also begin to dissipate more resources into hiring highly experienced data analysts or training their employees on data organization, and data analysis.
Given the same data, some organizations will make better use of it than others. This is only because they have people with better data analysis skills.
So, the future of web scraping will definitely affect the demand for data organization and analysis.
From security perspective
Most of the existing web scraping tools may no longer be effective as more organizations will continue to intensify efforts towards making their websites impossible to scrape.
By then, only the companies that are making use of third party web scraping services or those that have deployed highly sophisticated tool will still be able to scrape data from other websites.
In conclusion, it is important for organizations to begin to position themselves for the future of web scraping. Some necessary steps that you may want to consider are:
1. You should begin to work on developing your own artificial intelligence-driven robots that will handle your data scraping needs effectively NOW.
2. You should also intensify efforts towards making your site very difficult to scrape.
What if some of your competitors have easy access to the content on your website while you can't scrape theirs?
Remember, the more information you have about your competitors, the higher your chances of defeating them.
3. You should also begin to work seriously on improving your data organization and analysis skills. This can also be likened to war situations.
Sometimes, you may stumble on coded information of your competitors or opponents. The information will be of no use if you can't decode it as quickly as possible.
Highly experienced data analysts often spot certain trends in collated data easily so you may need to hire a couple of them.
In a nutshell, being able to prepare your organization for the concept of big data and the future of web extraction will play a prominent role in the long-term success of your business.