Playing with XML-Package: Get No. of Google Search Hits with R

March 30, 2012
By

(This article was first published on theBioBucket*, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)

GoogleHits <- function(input)
{
require(XML)
require(stringr)
require(RCurl)
url <- paste("https://www.google.com/search?q=\"",
input, "\"", sep = "")

CAINFO = paste(system.file(package="RCurl"), "/CurlSSL/ca-bundle.crt", sep = "")
script <- getURL(url, followlocation = TRUE, cainfo = CAINFO)
doc <- htmlParse(script)
res <- xpathSApply(doc, "//div[@id='subform_ctrl']/*", xmlValue)[[2]]
cat(paste("\nYour Search URL:\n", url, "\n", sep = ""))
cat("\nNo. of Hits:\n")
return(as.integer(gsub("[^0-9]", "", res)))
}

# Example:
GoogleHits("R%Statistical%Software")
p.s.: If you try to do this in a robot fashion, like:
lapply(list_of_search_terms, GoogleHits)
google will block you after about the 300th recursion!

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