Scroogle no longer scraping your Google search data

Scroogle is a popular search tool that takes your Google search, runs it through a system that that delivers Google results without revealing your IP address, setting a cookie, or any other kind of data gathering process. Users concerned with Google's data gathering and privacy practices use Scroogle to keep Google searches private, blocking ads and searching with SSL-encrypted connections. 

Due to a major overhaul in the user interface of the Google search page, Scroogle is no longer able to reliably parse results and scrape identifiable data. They cite the simple interface that remained basically unchanged since the beginnings of the search giants as the main reason they have been able to so effectively and reliably wash results of their data. 

"During those eight years there were only about five changes that required some programming adjustments. Also, this interface was available at every Google data center in exactly the same form, which allowed us to use 700 IP addresses for Google...Now that interface is gone. It is not possible to continue Scroogle unless we have a simple interface that is stable. Google's main consumer-oriented interface that they want everyone to use is too complex, and changes too frequently, to make our scraping operation possible. "

Scroogle has contacted Google to find out if the simple results interface that allowed the scraper to work will be put back into production at all. If they don't put it back, Scroogle is comparing Google's actions to Microsoft's policy on early Windows development.

"Microsoft didn't want a lot of other companies writing code that could compete. It wanted to keep the barriers to entry very high. The idea, in fact, was to keep raising the bar, putting in more layers of software and APIs, which developers would then have to support. Microsoft wanted to make it so gnarly that anybody who couldn't devote a team of one hundred programmers to every Windows application would be out of the game. (Barbarians Led by Bill Gates: Microsoft from the Inside by Jennifer Edstrom and Marlin Eller [New York: Henry Holt, 1998], p. 117)"

Images courtesy of Scroogle

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19 Comments

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It's frightening that so many people are in the "If you have nothing to hide who cares if companies know everything about you" camp. Without going into the many important reasons why it is important and why you should care, let's just say for many informed people, privacy matters. Google tracks much more than you know, they've have a long standing relationship with govt and law enforcement where they share information simply on request, no warrant, no nothing, just ask. NSA, CIA among other admitted ties are nothing good. Among other things, it's none of their damn business, they can still make tons of money without know it's you or neighbor doing the search. Don't be naive or stupid when it comes to protecting your privacy, personal information and habits, one day it might be a little more important than you realize right now. Now go back to watching idol. ;-)

I don't understand the paranoia over privacy concerns. Who genuinely cares if google records statistics that you look up what a word means at 9pm or whatever.

Blah blah blah whine whine whine. Scroogle should admit that they were simply using information without permission. Google can do what they like, it's their interface.

testman said,
Blah blah blah whine whine whine. Scroogle should admit that they were simply using information without permission. Google can do what they like, it's their interface.

Permission is required to use data now?

I have never heard of this service. I doubt Google added Bing-like interface modifications for any reason other than competitive ones...

excalpius said,
I have never heard of this service. I doubt Google added Bing-like interface modifications for any reason other than competitive ones...

Somehow I don't think Scroogle was alone...

Remember, that data is Google's livelihood

Well of course. Why would Google allow a service to strip the very data they are trying to collect? I'm surprised it took them this long to block it.

C_Guy said,
Well of course. Why would Google allow a service to strip the very data they are trying to collect? I'm surprised it took them this long to block it.

+1

XerXis said,
why don't they use the mobile page?

Scroogle say,
We have had dozens of emails recommending other obscure Google interfaces: /m (mobile), /xhtml, and /pda. But we made heavy use of Google parameters &num=100 (for 100 results per page) and &l=xy (a two-letter language code that caused Google to return pages that were written in that language). If your suggested interface cannot do both of these, then thank-you, but we won't be using it.