We all should be interested in the future of web scraping because sooner or later, it will affect all of us and influence every industry out there. The future of data scraping looks bright as the popularity of Internet usage increases, along with the amount of data available all over the web. Nowadays, it doesn’t really matter in which industry you are operating as almost everyone starts using the internet at some point. Even if your business has nothing to do with the internet, you’ll be able to find lots of useful and helpful information on the web, which might help you stay competitive.
In this blog post, we’ll talk specifically about the future of big data, set-out the industries which will benefit the most from data scraping, as well as mention the most important challenges of the web crawling industry. Keep reading to find what the future of data scraping holds for us.
Data Scraping Stats and Numbers
You might still feel skeptical about the future of web crawling, so let’s first look at the current picture of what the data looks like. You’ll be amazed by how the world of data is overloaded with information and how the amount of that information is growing per second.
The internet currently holds around 2 billion active websites. In fact, about 90% of the data on the internet has been created in the last 2 years only. There are close to 4.2 billion active users online with 50 billion connected devices. Social media alone is responsible for a huge amount of daily information creation online. Here are some daily stats:
- 2.5 quintillion bytes are created in a day,
- 223 million emails sent, the majority of which is spam,
- 5.9 billion videos viewed on YouTube,
- 69 million photos uploaded to Instagram,
- 272 million Skype calls.
Now let’s look at some data and stats from the rest of the web:
- More than 4 billion people use the internet, which indicates a growth rate of 7.5% over 2016,
- Google now processes more than 40,000 searches every second, which is 3.5 billion searches per day,
- Worldwide there are 5.5 billion searches a day. While 77% of searches are conducted on Google, other search engines are also contributing to the daily data generation,
- 2.5 quintillion bytes are created in a day with 5,053,000,000 GB Internet traffic.
According to Cisco, global internet traffic stroke 1.1 zettabytes by the end of 2016 and the number will grow and reach 2.3 zettabytes by 2020. One zettabyte is equal to 36,000 years of HD videos. A research group IDC predicted that the world will be creating 163 zettabytes (one trillion gigabytes) of data a year by 2025. So the already mind-blowing numbers are growing at an ever-increasing rate.
These stats and data must give you a good understanding of how much data each individual is creating. So never have data scraping services been in such a big need by businesses as they are now and will be in the upcoming years.
How Data Scraping Will Affect Certain Areas?
The huge amount of data that is regularly updated will most definitely affect data scraping. Web scraping technique follows a special way of extracting and harvesting data from the web, which comes very helpful for many businesses and individuals that are in a need of regular and fresh data. Let’s consider some industries that the future of big data and web crawling will affect.
Investors always need to be ahead of the curve and web scraping will help them get new insights into the world of the stock market and find new opportunities of investing in equity markets. Investments are all about trends and sentiment. If, as an investor, you gauge the trend and sentiment before the larger market spots the trend, you can invest early and make huge profits. And how to spot the trend before anyone else does, if not with the help of data? Web scraping will be the number one tool used by equity research in the future.
Venture capitalists (VCs), just like investors, are also always in search of new opportunities and need to be ahead of everyone else in the market. Before investing in a new start-up, there’s some data they need to collect regarding the venture. They can use web scraping technique to collect data on the geographical presence and assess the possibility of a company expanding in other markets. VCs can extract and study financial data or any other relevant data. Any information would be valuable because it would throw some new light.
The Business World
The competition in the business world has never been as tight as now. So many businesses need to take radical steps to stay in the game. Web scraping has become one of the tools companies use to overcome the competition.
When you have information, you have the most powerful tool of knowledge. There are many ways to web harvest to get over your competitors: scrape their websites to find out their strategy, feedback, updates, best-selling product, etc. The more data you have on your competitors, the more ready you are to win in a battle.
Given the competitive nature of the corporate world, it’s obvious that marketing will also be a highly-competitive practice. With so many marketing tools and specialists, it’s hard to find a competitive edge on which you can successfully market your company. Information, once again, will be a powerful tool and weapon in the hands of marketers. Only with a good knowledge of the market, you can drive out insights into what marketing decisions will get your company ahead. Also, given the sophisticated digital marketing industry with the SEO and other tools, web scraping will help marketers be updated on all the changes happening and spot the trends for further marketing advancements.
There are always risks involved in businesses. Some types of businesses involve way more risks than others, so they need to have a risk management department which would analyze and oversee all the possible challenges. Risk management will be extremely time-consuming without the availability of the web scraping technique. In the future, companies will rely more on web scraping services and tools to have fresh and ready-to-use data, in order to conduct an effective risk analysis.
For the AI, the big change will be caused not by data scraping itself, but because so many industries and people will need to use data scraping. Since AI is being used in almost every sector of life in modern life, the future will be even more desperately needing AI. Technology will be used for web scraping through the creation of intelligent robots and machines, which will scrape data on a regular basis for different companies.
Currently, there are no robots used for web scraping that can properly function without human intervention. The future super-intelligent web scraping robots will be able to use their discretion to handle any modification with little or no human intervention.
Challenges of Data Scraping in the Future
The growing number of data also will create more challenges for the data crawling industry. As long as there are many new opportunities, there will also be more challenges to overcome.
The privacy concern of web scraping has been and will remain a hot topic of discussion. So even considering the future of big data, we are back to the old and fundamental question of the legality of web scraping. There are several ways to scrape data: you can use the software, hire a web scraping service or use an API. In either case, you have to be careful not to violate any rules.
With the rising popularity of data harvesting, it’s quite obvious that scraping regulations will get stricter. Web harvesting gives a lot of businesses and individuals many advantages of taking over whatever they do. The government can be very strict when it comes to monopolizing the market or creating a huge gap between companies. Especially, if it’s done by accessing data and information that doesn’t directly belong to the scraper. So it’s pretty predictable that privacy concerns and legality of web crawling would be a challenge in the future of data scraping.
There is yet another possible challenge in the future of big data, which is a bit contradicting the one we have just discussed. It’s the growing trend of open-data. On one hand, there is a concern of privacy regarding the data. However, on the other hand, there’s the changing mindset regarding the closed data mindset. The idea behind this change lies in the growth of API usage. The usage of APIs offers websites 3 main advantages:
- Firstly, most websites charge money for data extraction. Big companies already offer access to their APIs for extra payment, and more companies will do so in the future.
- API is also a more controlled way of extraction. Websites, by granting access to their API, control what exactly can be scraped and can easily block the software if it tries to extract something else/more.
- And last but not least, as the need for data grows, with the help of APIs websites will be able to bring more traffic to their websites.
So the mindset of open data will most surely affect the future of web scraping, creating more challenges for companies to overcome. Web data extraction might become a luxury that only limited companies would be able to enjoy, due to higher prices.
With the growth of the internet and companies’ over-dependence on data and information, the future of web scraping promises to be full of new adventures and challenges. The brighter the future the more challenges may await. So no challenges should make the future of the big data feel any less promising. The future of data scraping is most surely bright and shiny packed with lots of new opportunities for businesses and corporations.