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A simple script to crawl Google Profile pages and extract their information as structured data

branch: master
README
BuzzProfileCrawl
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

*************WARNING*****************
By running this script you're using resources on Google's servers, so be respectful of their 
commitment to an open and crawlable web. Check http://google.com/robots.txt at least once a week to
ensure you're abiding by their site rules, don't fire too many requests at once, and make sure you
supply a valid contact email so they can get in touch in case of problems.
*************************************

This script allows you to download public Google Profiles and extract structured information from
the HTML. 

To test it, go to the command line, cd to this folder and run

./buzzprofilecrawl.php -f "testdata_*.txt" -e <email> -o <organization>

where <email> and <organization> are replaced by your contact email address and company, so that
Google can get in touch if your crawling causes any problems. You should see JSON arrays of
information for each of the 20 users mentioned in the test data files. 

The script fetches the HTML for the page from Google's servers, and then runs a set of regular
expressions to extract the microformatted information for that user. The profiles mostly use hcard
to help robots like us understand what the meaning of the different elements is.

The output is in the form <userid><tab character><json data>, eg:

106664725926862859359	{"user_name":"searchbrowser","name":"Pete Warden","portrait_url":"\/s2\/photos\/public\/AIbEiAIAAABDCN_Y_J-1nfe-XCILdmNhcmRfcGhvdG8qKDdkYTYyODgxMTAzYjg0OGUzODAzNjM1OTUxMzgxMWVhNjY3MzdlZDgwAUQ6MaRMKXz3oZLOOF-uOVBoUoqx","location":"Boulder, CO","location_born":"Cambridge, UK","employment_history":["Apple"],"education_history":["University of Manchester"],"links":["http:\/\/petewarden.typepad.com\/"],"title":"Software Engineer","organization":"Mailana Inc","location_history":["Dundee, Scotland","Los Angeles, CA"]}

To do further processing on this information, redirect it to a file, eg:

./buzzprofilecrawl.php É > output.txt

*** Finding public profiles ***

To use this to find public profiles, you'll need to download the sitemap files that together make
up a directory of the profile urls. Go to http://www.google.com/robots.txt and look for the sitemap
for the profiles, eg:

Sitemap: http://www.gstatic.com/s2/sitemaps/profiles-sitemap.xml 

Take the URL from that line, and download the sitemap file, eg:

curl -O "http://www.gstatic.com/s2/sitemaps/profiles-sitemap.xml"

You should now have an XML file that contains a list of the files that contain the URLs of the
published public profiles, eg:

<sitemapindex xmlns='http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9'>
	<sitemap>
		<loc>http://www.gstatic.com/s2/sitemaps/sitemap-000.txt</loc>
		<lastmod>2009-10-08</lastmod>
	</sitemap>
É

Finally you'll need to extract all of those sitemap URLs and download the files. For example, I do
some simplistic RegEx parsing to create a script that calls CURL to grab them:

echo '#!/bin/sh' > downloadmaps.sh
sed -n 's/.*<loc>\(.*\)<\/loc>.*/curl -O "\1"/p' profiles-sitemap.xml >> downloadmaps.sh
chmod +x downloadmaps.sh
./downloadmaps.sh

Once you've run that, you should now have a few hundred sitemap files containing URLs for user's
profiles. You can then feed those into the crawler by running:

./buzzprofilecrawl.php -f "sitemap-*.txt" -e <email> -o <organization>

****************************
 Licensed under the 2-clause (ie no advertising requirement) BSD license,
 making it easy to reuse for commercial or GPL projects:
 
 (c) Pete Warden <pete@petewarden.com> http://petewarden.typepad.com/ Jan 8th 2010
 
 Redistribution and use in source and binary forms, with or without modification, are
 permitted provided that the following conditions are met:

   1. Redistributions of source code must retain the above copyright notice, this 
      list of conditions and the following disclaimer.
   2. Redistributions in binary form must reproduce the above copyright notice, this 
      list of conditions and the following disclaimer in the documentation and/or 
      other materials provided with the distribution.
   3. The name of the author may not be used to endorse or promote products derived 
      from this software without specific prior written permission.

THIS SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED BY THE AUTHOR ``AS IS'' AND ANY EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES,
INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS
FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE ARE DISCLAIMED. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE AUTHOR BE LIABLE FOR ANY
DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, SPECIAL, EXEMPLARY, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES (INCLUDING, 
BUT NOT LIMITED TO, PROCUREMENT OF SUBSTITUTE GOODS OR SERVICES; LOSS OF USE, DATA, OR 
PROFITS; OR BUSINESS INTERRUPTION) HOWEVER CAUSED AND ON ANY THEORY OF LIABILITY, 
WHETHER IN CONTRACT, STRICT LIABILITY, OR TORT (INCLUDING NEGLIGENCE OR OTHERWISE) 
ARISING IN ANY WAY OUT OF THE USE OF THIS SOFTWARE, EVEN IF ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY
OF SUCH DAMAGE.
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