Posted by: brandextenders | January 28, 2010

"Google Alert Will Robinson, Google Alert!"

If you understand what that headline is referring to, you probably mumbled silently to yourself the line should be, “Danger Will Robinson, Danger, Danger.” Which of course came from the over-the-top 1960’s science fiction TV series called “Lost in Space” starring June Lockhart (“Lassie”), Angela Cartwright (“The Danny Thomas Show”) and Billy Mumy. The robot on board the ship would get agitated when danger was close at hand and shout out the warning to the youngest member of the family portrayed by Billy.

Part of the point of bringing up that series is to say I am not a spring chicken, but am very much into technology and the benefits it can bring along with opportunities for those who use it wisely. Along those lines, I want to talk about Google Alert for those of you who either haven’t heard of it or may not be using it yet. Google Alert is a search tool that can bring results to your inbox of topics you are interested in.

These are some of the things that truly amaze me about the Internet. Google has what are called spiders, the technology equivalent of a dog that sniffs out its prey. These spiders instead sniff out key words you have put into your Google Alert and basically points you to where it found them (the URL). The more specific you are, the better the search results. For example, if you put in a keyword of “sport”, chances are the results will be hundreds of sites and most likely won’t give you what you are looking for. But if you put in sports, baseball, Braves, Atlanta, you will get much more specific results. You can search for news articles, blogs, videos, search the web, Google Groups or a comprehensive search that looks at all of those areas. You can also choose to receive the alerts as they happen or in one daily digest email, which is what I prefer. If you’d like to receive them in multiple languages, not a problem and you can have up to 1,000 Google Alerts set up at any given time (you’ll have a busy inbox if you go this route!). The best part is all of this is free and easy to sign up for. You’ll need a Google account and then you simply go to http://www.google.com/alerts and follow the prompts.

You might ask what’s the purpose of setting up these alerts and although I’m sure I’m not covering all of them, here are just a few:

  • Follow your competition: Would you like to see what your competition is up to? Google Alerts are a great way to see what they’re doing and gives you insight into their tactics.
  • Follow your industry: Same idea where you can see what you might be missing that’s happening in your industry or a specific association.
  • Keep track of a developing news story; for example the earthquake in Haiti. With Google Alerts you would receive a list of all the places the story is being talked about and could follow the latest updates.
  • Follow your favorite sports team
  • Find videos on a specific topic
  • Google Alert yourself to see what’s being said about you on the web.

Since it’s free, you have nothing to lose. Give it a try and amaze your friends and family with all you learn from the updates you’ll be receiving. And no, I’m not making any money by promoting this site, but maybe I should be. I’ll have to set up an alert on “Making money using Google Alert”!!

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