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Using Selenium to Download Files

I had an interesting question last week – could we scrape data off of Google Trends. Of course, we *can* but what if we only want the .csv file which you can retrieve with a desktop screen and the typical download button. We also want to use Selenium or something to automate the process so that it can be run with Java.

Desktop Sized Screens Get Download Button
Desktop Sized Screens Get Download Button
Mobile Screens Have Fewer Options
Mobile Screens Have Fewer Options


  • After researching, Selenium doesn’t actively support downloading files to a specific directory
  • Google Trends blocks you from accessing this download button if you’re not using a screen with a desktop size (think: headless browsers won’t have a desktop size)


  • What if we force a “default download path” for our browser before we launch it
  • What if we don’t use a headless browser – it may be not too aesthetically appealing but it will get the job done


A huge note of caution: Not sure if there are some rate limiting steps in play where Trends will block you after downloading too many times, etc. so please use common sense.

Published in Tech


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