October 11th, 2007 | Published in Google News
I recently moved about two thousand miles across the country, and aside from the lack of good pizza, one of the most disorienting things about having moved is not knowing what's going on back home. That's why I'd like to tell you about one of my favorite Google tools, Google Alerts, which makes staying current as simple as checking your email every morning.
I use Alerts to keep track of news about Chicago politics, but the beauty of Alerts is that you can use it to look for anything that appears in a news story, blog post, Google Groups thread or anywhere else on the Internet. Just go to google.com/alerts and enter the term or terms you're interested in, along with the sources you'd like to see results from, how often you want to receive the alerts and your email address. You can create up to 1,000 alerts per email address, and you can update your preferences at any time by following the links at the bottom of any Alerts email you receive.
However, you can use Alerts for much more than checking up on shenanigans in the 1st Ward. If you're in a media-sensitive environment, such as a political or public relations campaign, you can create alerts that let you know whenever you or your client appear in the headlines - as soon as the story breaks. You can be the first to know when something happens to your favorite baseball player, when a review appears for a new movie you'd like to see, or when a new lolcats site goes live.
But Alerts are also very useful for news publishers and webmasters who want to track the inclusion of their content in Google News. Using our search operators -- like the site: operator, which returns search results from a specific domain (i.e. searching for "site:nytimes.com" will return all articles from the New York Times) -- a news publisher can get a daily email listing a selection of articles from their site that made it into Google News. And of course, anyone can use Alerts to notify them when a new post goes live on their favorite news site, or when something happens involving one of their competitors.
With millions of pages being updated every day on the still-nascent Web, it can be difficult for mere mortals to stay up-to-date. Thankfully, with Alerts, you can rely on the world's largest search engine to help you out.