My guess is that almost everyone reading this post is already using, if not familiar with, Google Alerts. On the off-chance that this feature is news to some, I’ve decided to share the benefits of this free feature provided by the search king. This past week alone I had the occasion to mention Google Alerts to two different people, in two different conversations, and I learned that these folks had never heard of the service before. I found this to be a small tragedy. Why?
1. It’s FREE. ‘Nuff said.
2. It’s USEFUL. One of the most popular uses I’ve come across for this tool is to monitor your brand. Having a daily or weekly alert of any mentions of your name, company name, blog name, etc. allows you to keep tabs on what’s being said about your brand and by whom.
These alerts don’t have to always have a business angle, however; you can set an alert for any keyword that interests you whether it be “Miami Heat” or “fettucine alfredo” or “cloud computing.” Keeping up with the global conversations surrounding your interests can serve multiple purposes: it can serve as fodder for your blog or provide sources for research, or just give you great watercooler material.
3. It’s EASY. You can setup your alerts without a Google account, within seconds and they’ll be delivered straight to your inbox or to your RSS feed at the frequency of your choice. Tired of getting everything ever mentioned about Taylor Launter? Cancel that particular alert in one click. You can set up to 1000 alerts (I’d pity your inbox though) and even subscribe in multiple language.
Here’s how it works:
What are Google Alerts?
Google Alerts are emails sent to you when Google finds new results — such as web pages, newspaper articles, or blogs — that match your search term. You can use Google Alerts to monitor anything on the Web. For example, people use Google Alerts to:
- find out what is being said about their company or product.
- monitor a developing news story.
- keep up to date on a competitor or industry.
- get the latest news on a celebrity or sports team.
- find out what’s being said about themselves.
Here’s how it works:
- You enter a query that you’re interested in.
- Google Alerts checks regularly to see if there are new results for your query.
- If there are new results, Google Alerts sends them to you in an email.
For general queries like [ football ], you can get a summary of the new results every day. For specific topics, like[ cardiovascular atherosclerosis ], you might not get an email every day, but you’ll find out when something new and relevant is published.
And here’s what an Alert looks like in my Gmail inbox:
Do you use Google Alerts? How useful do you find them?