How to scrape data from Google Maps

Natasha Lekh
Natasha Lekh
Table of Contents

Guide to scraping reviews, popular times, photos, and more from Google Maps. Go beyond the limits of the official API and get unlimited results.

We don’t have to tell you how popular and ubiquitous using Google Maps is. Over its 17+ years of existence, Google Maps has transformed from a simple navigation tool to an app with a whole different level of promotion and opportunities for both individual users and big and small fish in business. The marketing influence of a simple map on the web has evolved to the point where every type of business, from e-commerce to pharmaceuticals, wants to have its name featured and ranked as high as possible in Google Maps ratings.

We’re going to show you how to use the Apify platform and a ready-made tool called Google Maps Scraper to extract data from Google Maps. This scraper, or crawler, will enable you to extract Google Maps data directly from the website, including reviews, images, opening hours, and popular times.

To learn how to achieve this, you can follow a step-by-step guide here or head over to our short YouTube tutorial 📹🔴▶️

Google Maps topped the charts in 2021 as most-downloaded travel app with 154.4 million monthly users across the globe. There’s data on 1 164 749 companies that use Google Maps.

How to use data extracted from Google Maps

These days, without a digital presence on Google Maps, a local business can count itself as pretty much invisible. That's why Google Maps is a colossal free data repository for businesses and organizations, which makes it a goldmine for extracting all kinds of invaluable data: from reviews, geolocation, and gas prices to contact data such as emails, phone numbers, addresses, and websites companies in the general vicinity. Here's just a couple of examples of how you can use this extracted data:

  • ☎️ Generate leads. By scraping Google Maps, you can build your own database of emails, phone numbers, reviews, ratings, and businesses for a targeted place, industry, or country.
  • 🧸 Monitor brand sentiment. You can analyze collected Google Maps reviews for positive/negative sentiment, quality of service, and specific phrases. Our Google Maps Reviews Scraper focuses specifically on Google Maps reviews, including reviewer name, reviewer ID & URL, reviewer number of reviews, and Is Local Guide parameter.
  • 🧑‍💻 Create a potential customer base. Websites and contact information are scattered all over the internet, but trying to find them takes a lot of time. Google Maps is one place where many of your prospects are gathered together.
  • 👁 Search, monitor, and analyze the competitors' offers. Scraping Google Maps reviews about competitors can be a useful review framework for your business and can give you the capability to provide your clients with a better marketing service.
  • 🗺 Analyze geospatial data for scientific or engineering work. For instance, when working with satellite data and geolocation or analyzing territorial changes before and after an event, as has been thoroughly done in this Bellingcat study.
  • ⛽️ Get gas prices. Google Maps also provides an opportunity to get recent gas prices from the area, along with details on field type, company supplier, and more. You can use Gas Stations Scraper to that end.
  • 🕵️ Carry out a product hunt. Find businesses offering the product you're searching for and choose the best option out of the pool of results.
  • 📀 Benefit from big data, even if you're a small player. Find opportunities for expanding your business or organization and developing a working market strategy.

There are countless ways to use that Google Maps data. However, in order to create a whole database, you may need to automate the process of data collection. One way to do that is via an official Google Maps API, but it won't be easy. You can always opt for a completely different Google Maps data extraction tool that can provide a full range of results, such as this free Google Maps Scraper.

86% of people look up a business on Google Maps before visiting. American users make up 45% of all Google Maps users. 94% of them tend to make their restaurant choices based on Google Maps reviews.

Anybody can get information from publicly available websites - web scraping is just a faster and more efficient way to get the job done. It is therefore legal, as long as you respect the personal data and copyright laws. To learn more about the legality of web scraping, read our blog post on the subject.

Nearly 8 million live websites use Google Maps. Overall, Google Maps has 4.1 million ratings on the App Store and 20+ million user contributions per day.

Why not use the official Google Maps API?

Some massively popular websites such as Instagram, Twitter, and Amazon do provide APIs for their users to access part of their data. Google Maps is among these sites, it provides a Google Places API for its users. Why do people search for unofficial Google Maps API in the first place when there’s an official API around?

The answer is all about - you guessed it - limitations and seeking alternatives. Back in 2010, Google Maps API introduced considerable limitations on scraping their data. Here are just a few reasons why alternatives to Google Maps API are popular:

  • Prices got pretty high. In 2010, Google Places made using their APIs paid. 8 years later, in 2018, Google introduced a new billing model for businesses using Google Maps APIs. The amount of free API calls has been cut, and the new pricing wasn’t welcome.
  • Pricing model is also tricky. After using up the freemium monthly credits of $200, which include a seemingly safe package of 28K Dynamic Maps loads, 100K Static Maps loads, 40K Directions calls and 40K Geolocation calls, things get tricky. However, the costs go pretty high if you decide to use Embed API in Directions, Views, or Search mode. And don’t even get us started on autocomplete - that one consumes credits like wildfire.
  • Authentication gate. Your API calls have to include a valid API key linked to a Google Cloud Platform account; yes, even if your usage remains within the initial free $200 credit.
  • Limited number of free API calls. 28K dynamic loads per month for free (compared to 25K per day before 2018 pricing change). All this leads to…
  • Anxious monitoring. You have to constantly keep an eye on your API usage so as to stay within the limits because you don’t want to face consequences when your account gets blocked out of the blue for overusage.
  • Imposed limitations on results. Google Places API enforces rate limits (100 requests per second) and IP quotas. Some features are still unavailable in Place API such as Popular place times histogram.
  • Unpredictability. Google can make any changes to the paid API, or impose new restrictions at any moment. Adapting to those changes can influence your solution significantly and without warning.

These are just a few reasons that encouraged businesses and developers around the world to find alternative ways to scrape the Google Maps website, such as Google Maps Scraper 🔗, which now accounts for 20+K users. While the official Google Maps Places API can be an adequate option in some cases, low-code crawlers such as our Google Maps Scraper can provide:

  • Unlimited results
  • Popular place times histogram
  • All place reviews
  • All place photos

Now let's walk you through every step of the process of scraping Google Maps with our Google Maps Scraper.

How do I scrape data from Google Maps?

Step 1. Find Google Maps Scraper on Apify Store

First, go to the actor's page, and click the Try for free button. If you are not logged in, you will be prompted to log in or sign up via your email address, Google, or GitHub account. Once you are done, you will be redirected to Apify Console.

Landing page of google maps scraper.
Find Google Maps Scraper on Apify Store
Sign up for free account
Sign up for a free account

Step 2. Fill in the input fields

There are two ways to get your data. You can either enter your search terms in the first field, e.g., falafel in New York. Alternatively, you can open Google Maps in a separate window, search for New York -> falafel and, once Google Maps provides you with results, copy the URL and paste it into the second input field.

If you choose to use the first option, you can then move on to the Limit search area function (click the dropdown Define the search area by other parameters menu item) and restrict the geographic area you want to get results from, either by typing the address (country, city, postal code) or by inserting the latitude and longitude coordinates.

You can also adjust the zoom level of the area to scrape. If you zoom in, you will get more detailed results, including smaller businesses. Otherwise, you will obtain what Google Maps will consider being the most relevant places over a larger area.

Google Maps URL that contains New York and falafel query
Google Maps URL that contains New York and falafel query
This is the URL section you have to focus on
This is the URL section you have to focus on

Step 3. Start Google Maps Scraper

Once you are all set, click the Start button. Notice that your task will change its status to Running, so wait for the scraper's run to finish. It will be just a minute before you see the status switch to Succeeded.

Start Google Maps Scraper and wait till the status turns to Succeeded
Start Google Maps Scraper and wait till the status turns to Succeeded

Step 4. Get your results

Move to the Output tab to see the results of your scraping, and preview and download the dataset from the Storage tab, which contains your scraped data in many formats, including HTML table, JSON, CSV, Excel, XML, and RSS feed.

See and export your results
See and export your results
Get your results in JSON
Get your results in JSON

One slight caveat is that it's preferable to scrape such a huge website as Google Maps by using proxies, that way, it's faster and more efficient. Because of this, if you get serious about scraping Maps, it will eventually start costing you at least a little cash, but in the meantime, you get one month of Apify Proxy free as soon as you sign up at Apify. So hurry up and start your first month with our free Google Maps Scraper on Apify Store.

Finally, if this particular scraper seems too advanced for your needs, have no fear. There is also Easy Google Maps Scraper. We think you'll agree with us that it is...well, easy!

Easy Google Maps Scraper · Apify
Collect data from Google Maps. Just enter what you want to scrape, e.g. restaurants, and where you want to search, e.g. New York. Free and easy web scraping of map data.

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