There is so much going on in the world that it is hard to keep up with the latest news. Google Alerts can help and it monitors news sources for you and send stories to your email inbox.
What is a Google Alert?
A Google Alert is an email that contains brief snippets of news stories focused on a specific topic. Each news story contains a heading, a couple of lines of introductory text and sometimes a thumbnail image. There are links to go and read the full story.
Google is the king of search and it is this that powers the Google Alert service. The web is monitored for keywords and phrases appearing in news stories and the stories are compiled into an email and sent to you.
It is a great way to watch for news in a niche or news about a company, product or service.
You can even use it to monitor your own company, product or service. For example, you could receive an alert each time someone mentions you in a blog post, news story or elsewhere. This is great for monitoring the effectiveness of promotions and marketing. You can see which websites mention you and when.
Alerts can also be used to monitor your competitors and to see what they are doing, what they are promoting and who is mentioning them in the news.
Set up a Google Alert
Creating Google Alerts is easy and you start by opening a web browser and going to www.google.com/alerts
At the top of the page is a search box and ‘Create an alert about’. Enter a search term, such as a keyword in whatever niche or topic you are interested in.
I am interested in technology, so I will set up an alert for smartwatches. An example of the sort of news stories that you will see in your email alerts is shown below. If this is not what you want, try a slightly different keyword or phrase.
Click Show options and a panel appears with options to fine tune the email alert.
- How often: As it happens, At most once a day, or At most once a week.
- Sources: Choose blogs, news, the web and other sources, or just set it to automatic, which usually works the best.
- Region: The stories can be limited to any country, so you could localise it a bit and choose to see alerts only for stories in your country.
- How many: The choice is between All results and Only the best results. selecting All could make a very long email alert.
- Deliver to: This is your Gmail email address.
Click Create Alert and then go and create another alert. Add as many as you need.
An Edit button (pencil icon) on the right enables the rules for an alert to be adjusted. The trash can is to delete an alert and this stops the emails.
Filter out Google Alerts
Google Alerts can fill your inbox and get in the way of your regular emails. For this reason it is a good idea to set up a filter to collect alerts and put them out of the way, but easy to reach.
In Gmail click the gear icon in the top right corner and select Settings. Select the Filters and blocked addresses tab, and then click Create a new filter.
Set the From to [email protected] and the rule will catch all the alert emails.
Set it to skip the Inbox to to avoid it cluttering up your regular emails. Select Apply the label and if you have not already done so, use the menu to create a label. I called mine Google Alerts, but you could choose any name. Tick the option to never send it to spam.
Now you will get emails daily or weekly with a list of news stories featuring the keyword or phrase you are interested in.