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Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Google Sheets vs Web Scraping Services

Google Sheets vs Web Scraping Services

Ever since the data on the web started multiplying in terms of quantity and quality, people have sought out ways to scrape or extract this data for a wide range of applications. Since the scope of extraction was limited back then, the extraction methods mostly comprised of manual methods like copy-pasting text into a local document.

As businesses realized the importance of web scraping as a big data acquisition channel, new technologies and tools surfaced with advanced capabilities to make web scraping easier and efficient.

Today, there are various solutions catering to the web data extraction requirements of companies; DIY tools to managed web scraping services are out there and you can choose one that suits your requirements the best.

Scraping using Google sheets

As we mentioned earlier, there are so many different ways to extract data from the web although not all of these would make sense from a business point of view. You can even use Google docs to extract data from a simple HTML page if you are looking to understand the basics of web scraping. You could check out our guide on using google sheets to scrape a website if you want to learn something that might come handy.

However, Google docs and other web data extraction tools come with their own limitations. For starters, tools aren’t meant for large-scale extraction which is what most businesses will require. Unless you are a hobbyist looking to extract a few web pages for tinkering with a new data visualization tool, you should steer clear from web scraping tools. Scraping tools cannot cater to the requirements of a business as it could be well out of their capabilities.

Enterprise-grade web data extraction

Web scraping is only a common term for the process of saving data from a web page to a local storage or cloud. However, if we consider the practical applications of the data, it’s obvious that there’s a clear distinction between mere web scraping and enterprise-grade web data extraction.

The latter is more inclined towards the extraction of data from the web for real-world applications and hence requires advanced solutions that are built for the same. Following are some of the qualities that an enterprise-grade web scraping solution should have:

- High-end customization options
- Complete automation
- Post-processing options to make the data machine-ready
- Technology to handle dynamic websites
- Capability of handling large-scale extraction

Why DaaS is the best solution for enterprise-grade web scraping

When it comes to extracting data for business use cases, there should be a stark difference in the way things are done. The speed and efficiency matters more in the business world and this demands a managed web scraping solution that takes the complexities and pain points out of the process to provide companies with just the data they need, the way they need it.

Data as a Service is exactly what businesses that are looking to extract web data without losing focus on their core business operations need. Web crawling companies like PromptCloud, that work on the DaaS model does all the heavy lifting associated with extracting web data and deliver only the needed data to the companies in a ready-to-use format.