Google Alerts

Why use Google Alerts?

If you really love whale sharks, you might want to know whenever Google finds a new source that talks about them.

Google Alerts allow you to monitor the web for new information on a particular topic.

You set up a standing query and it runs constantly in the background and emails you the results without you ever having to do anything.

For example, you can:

  1. Track various competitors.
  2. Monitor an industry.
  3. Watch what is happening with your favorite sports team.
  4. Keep an eye out for certain job opportunities.
  5. Follow discussions and publications on a scholarly topic (learn how to set an Alert in Google Scholar).

How would you use an Alert?

Establishing an Alert

1. Search for [Google Alerts] and click through.

Figure 1: Sign up for a Google Alert with this form.

2. Enter a query such as [whale shark]. Notice that you can use any operators that you use in Google Web Search, so you could also enter a query like [whale shark site:youtube.com].

Figure 2: Notice that, as you type, sample search results appear on the right-hand side of the page.

You can play with your query until you get exactly what you want.

3. Select other characteristics of your alert. Do you want Google to:

  1. Search across all of its search services, or limit the search to one of the following services: News, Blogs, Videos, Discussions, or Books?
  2. Send you updates as they arise, once a day, or once a week?
  3. Share only the best results, or all results?

4. Enter the email address at which you want to receive the Alerts.

5. Click the Create alert button.

You can also go to this page and click the Manage your alerts button to edit, export, or delete existing alerts.

Finding past Alerts notifications

If you have a Gmail account you can go to your Inbox and search for [from:Google Alert]. You will see your past emails containing Alert notifications.

If you have a subject you like to follow, consider going to http://www.google.com/alerts and setting up an Alert to keep you up-to-date.


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