Scrape Not, Lest Ye Be Scraped
Google's greatest hypocrisy yet
Recently Google brought down the hammer on service providers like Raven Tools, who were doing the unthinkable— scraping Google's data to supply to their customers! Yep, they were crawling Google's data and returning it to their customers so people could track how they were doing on Google. Of course, this goes against Google's terms of service, but this has been going on for years with no real fear of Google punishment. I mean, all Google does is scrape data all day so they couldn't be this big of hypocrites, could they?
What's a "scraper"
A scraper is a tool that crawls a page and collects data. If you've ever heard of "search spiders" or some similar term, they're probably referring to Google bot. It crawls all the pages you find in your search results and returns that data to Google where their giant brain runs them through their crazy algorithm and spits them out when you type in a search query.
What Raven and many other service providers were doing was crawling Google's results so their clients could track their rankings. As you might imagine, this is pretty valuable for webmasters and marketers trying to gauge if their activities are making the mighty Google happy or not. But Google doesn't want you to have any access to this information to understand what it is that they're doing. Their web content is not to be examined! Shame on you greedy marketers.
Why this is such a horrible hypocrisy
Google is a scraper. That's all it is. Think about it. The only reason Google exists is because of all the businesses, organizations and individuals creating content that Google scrapes and organizes. If it weren't for the general public creating content, Google would be useless. But they scrape your content, organize it in snippets and act as a doorway. Google owns YouTube and who makes the content for that?
So Google's entire business is built on scraping the content of others, but scraping their content (which is just snippets of content that THEY'VE ALREADY SCRAPED) doesn't fly? Especially when Google is such an important part of so many companies' business models.
Smells a little funny, doesn't it?