The Internet is vast, wide and at last count has over a trillion webpages. That’s quite a bit. How can you possible consume all that information, especially the topics you are interested in? Short answer, you can’t. How do all these blogs and people stay on top of the latest trends, knowledgeable in their areas of expertise? They aren’t going out actively manually conducting searches and compiling the results, instead they are using tools to delivery those up to date posts and reports automatically. One of the easiest solutions to use is Google Alerts.
I use Google Alerts heavily as a research tools and as an alerting system to stay current with topics I am focused on. If you have a Google account you are halfway there from setting up your own Google Alerts. Here’s how –
1) Go to the Google Alerts Page
2) Toward the bottom of the page there are pre-defined topics you can use for alerts if you choose or just enter the search criteria in the search bar at the top. When you enter your search it will show you a preview on the types of stories your will get back. This will allow you to tune your search to make sure you get the stories you want and limit the clutter. If you are satisfied with the results, click Create Alert.
3) When you create your alert it will show up in your list. Click on the Pencil to edit it and choose how you want to receive your report. You have several options to choose from but the three you are going to be most interested in are How often, Sources, and Deliver to.
How Often – As-it-happens, as soon as a new post is detected by the alert you will get it. This is handy for alerts on yourself, your company, sports news or anything else that would be time sensitive or you want to know about as soon as you can. The other selections, At most once a day and At most once a week, these options do what they say, daily digests daily or weekly. These are good for blog research, news, or anything else for mass reading at a later time.
Sources – This option will allow you tell the Google Alert to search on all sources available or just the web, images, video, blogs, books, discussions. I always leave it on everything.
Deliver To – This is the most important option, how do you want to get the results of your Alert. You have two options, email or RSS feed. Email goes to your Gmail account, RSS gives you an RSS link that you can add to your reader. I live and die by my RSS feeds and I have a section in my Feedly reader for my alerts.
That’s all there is to set it up. Now you can setup however many Alerts you want on your name to see if anything gets posted about you, your company to stay on top of press releases or reviews, your industry news to stay current on topics, entertainment news on your favorite celebrities or movies, and so on. Experiment with the searches, look around to see what other people have setup and have fun.
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Binary Blogger has spent 20 years in the Information Security space currently providing security solutions and evangelism to clients. From early web application programming, system administration, senior management to enterprise consulting I provide practical security analysis and solutions to help companies and individuals figure out HOW to be secure every day.