Get No. of Google Search Hits with R and XML

January 20, 2014

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

UPDATE: Thanks to Max Ghenis for updating my R-script which I wrote a while back – the below R-script can now be used again for pulling the number of hits from Google-Search.

GoogleHits <- function(input)
url <- paste("\"",
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="resultStats"]', xmlValue)
cat(paste("\nYour Search URL:\n", url, "\n", sep = ""))
cat("\nNo. of Hits:\n")
return(as.integer(gsub("[^0-9]", "", res)))

# Example:

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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