Most people use the web by searching it or by visiting certain sites regularly, in the hope that something that matches their interests will appear. This can waste a lot of time. and it would be better if the websites could let you know as important new material arrives. Some sites have useful RSS news feeds, but not all do, and you still need to download and read the headlines. Google Alerts provides a powerful alternative that actually sends you messages as subjects that interest you pop up on the web.
You can read these messages in a web browser or news reader, or simply choose the email option, which is idea for people working on the move using smartphones.
1) Type google.com/alerts into your web browser. This will automatically take you to the relevant page to create an alert. You can now create an alert by filling in the box on the right-hand side of the page. Within the Search items field, type in your area of interest. We have chosen BP Oil as our subject. Then choose the type of information you want to read. We want to receive news items, but you may be more interested in the opinions of others; in that case, choose blogs or discussions from the drop-down menu. The next field asks how often you want to be emailed about your subject: as it happens, once a day or once a week Select the appropriate option. Similarly, choose the quantity of information you want to receive in terms of the number of stories.
2) Type your email address. Even if you do not want to receive your alerts by email, you must enter your email address. Click on the Create Alert button and you will be taken to a page that asks you to log into your email and confirm the alert. Until you have clicked on the confirm alert link from within your email, the alert will not be active and you will receive no messages. Then sign into Google alerts to view and manage the information being sent to you. Return to the http://google.com/alerts page and, on the left-hand side of the screen, click on the ‘Sigh in to manage your alerts’ link. This will take you to the page where you can sign into your Google accounts. Sign in as you would ordinarily.
3) You will now be able to see the alert that you have already created. Click on the subject title to view all information on your chosen subject. You can also edit your alert from this page. Click on the Edit button at the far right of the screen next to the subject title that you have created. You’ll now have the option to change the details of the alert. You can refine or change the title of your search, and the frequency or quantity of the information being received by email. Perhaps you don’t want your email being clogged up by these alerts, in which case choose the Feed option under the Deliver To column. When you’re happy with the details, click the Save button.
lf you have chosen the Feed option, you then view the stories by clicking on the View in Google reader link directly below the word ‘Feed’.
4) Google Reader will open a new tab that shows all the stories relating your subject matter and options on how you can view the information. At the top of the page, in the blue header entitled Google Alerts, there are two options called Expand and List. By choosing List you will get only the headline of the story; to read further, click on the headline. With the Expand option, you are given the headline and then the first few lines of the story. This gives you a better idea of what the story is about at a glance. There are also options to add tags, mark stories and sort the articles by date. These features allow you to organize the information in a similar manner to emails within Google Mail.
5) Google Alerts also enables you to choose where you gather information from. Perhaps you have a preference for a particular news site, or perhaps there is a site that is dedicated to the area of news in which you are interested. By adding a subscription, you receive the information from this site. Click on the Add Subscription button at the top left of the page. Then type or paste the web address of your chosen site, and finally click the Add button. At the bottom of the left-hand column, there is a section called Subscriptions. Under this, you will be able to see all the subscriptions that you have created and you will be able to view the information from these sources by clicking on the relevant subscription.
6) Having set up a Google Alert, it’s useful to know how to delete it. Perhaps you no longer have an interest in the subject matter, say. To delete an alert, go back to the Manage your Alerts page. Tick the box next to the subject that you wish to delete and then click the Delete button at the bottom of the list of your alerts. Your alert should then be removed.