Get News with Google Alerts

April 21, 2011, By Christian Cawley

Finding news on the web is pretty easy, if you’re happy to read what is provided for you by your favourite websites or by Google news. It’s the same as reading a newspaper, really, where you find news is provided based on the agenda of the publication and selected by the editor.

The best way of getting the truth in news reports is probably to read three or more reports on the same item from three completely different publications or websites and then make your own mind up about what is really going on, and you can automate this by setting up an iGoogle account to find news based on a specific topic, and have the items displayed in Google News.

If you’re not able to regularly access your web browser, however, an alternative to this is Google Alerts, a great system setup by Google that sends emails with relevant news stories based on the criteria that you have selected. Google Alerts is free to use and yields great results, as you’re about to find out…

Get News with Google Alerts

Getting Started with Google Alerts

To take advantage of this great free service from Google, head to www.google.com/alerts, where you will find a small form to complete. Many Google services require you to sign in with your Google account, but as Google Alerts is still in beta, this isn’t required.

Creating a new alert is simple, but it requires you to have an email address that the results of the alert can be sent to. Otherwise Google Alerts will create an RSS feed that you can view in your email client.

Depending on the frequency of your expected news alerts and their popularity, you might get several emails a day with one or more news items concerning the subject you have chosen. The information is found by Google mainly via Google News, but also via blogs and websites that use the term you are looking for. A website might publish a story at 3am, and by 4am you should have an email chatting about it, so the system is pretty good.

Creating a Google Alert

Using the form on the Google Alerts webpage you can keep on top of the most recent news and updates on your favourite topics.

For instance, to stay in the loop on all things Android Honeycomb, enter the term “android honeycomb” into the Search terms field of the Google Alerts webpage form. To get an idea of how successful the search term is (you might look for multiple terms by separating them with a comma) click the Preview results button, and a window will open to the right of the form displaying the current results.

Under the Type drop menu, select from your preferred type of news alert; for instance you might be looking at mentions of “android honeycomb” from blogs rather than discussions. To get all mentions, select All.

Set the How often drop-down menu make a selection on how regular you would like the updates, and in Volume choose between having All results or Only the best.  Finally, choose between your email address or an RSS feed if you are signed into Google, or if you are creating an alert without signing up, just enter your email address and sit back and wait for the alerts to start flying in!

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