Google Alerts - Are you spending hours searching for information online? Let the information find you.

Not many Internet users have heard about Google Alerts, but I believe that this is one of the greatest tools that I have come across ever since I started blogging. As I blog about productivity applications I need to know everything about all the new shiny tools that people are using. I don't know of any service that can give this kind of information as fast as Google Alerts does. You get the news as it happens. You can also configure Google Alerts to send you search results once a day or once a week.

Everyday I meet people who are still doing things old school style. Not because they choose to do it that way. But because they do not know about all the applications that can help them to be more productive. There is really an application for everything these days. When I start telling them about how I use Evernote to capture ideas, Google Drive for saving and editing documents in the cloud, Wunderlist for creating my to-do lists, Google Calendar for making all types of plans, Soundgecko for transcribing text to audio and Pocket for saving articles that I don't have time to read so that I can read them later, their jaws always drop to the floor. Believe me, I am very passionate about productivity applications. It's something that I can talk about for hours. Without fail they always ask me the same question, "How do you know all that?". My secret is Google Alerts.

All I have to do is set up an alert with the relevant search query and Google Alerts will keep me informed. From then on the only thing I have to worry about is information overload because Google Alerts will not rest until I have received all the information people keep pumping into the Internet everyday. So if you are someone like me, who needs access to fresh news without spending hours combing the web, give Google Alerts a try.

There are two ways to use Google Alerts:

  1. The first method, which I do not recommend, is to use Google Alerts without a gmail account. All you have to do is go to Google Alerts, write what you want to monitor, decide how often you would like to be notified, what kind of results you expect to recieve, enter your email address and click "Create Alert". Google Alerts will then start sending you all that interesting information that you have been spending hours trying to find.
  2. The second method is for those who have gmail accounts. As with all things Google, you need a gmail account to take full advantage of this excellent service. Follow this link to create a gmail account if you don't have one. The advantages of using a gmail account are that:
    • you do not need to verify your account to create alerts,
    • you can configure how often you would like to receive alerts
    • and most importantly, you will have also have access to other excellent Google products like Google Drive.

What's your opinion about Google Alerts? Do you know of any tools that do the same thing? Please leave your comments below.