Saturday, June 23, 2012

Working Smarter: Using Google Alerts to Help You Research

Among the many useful free tools that Google provides is the Google Alert tool. As the name suggests, you use it to obtain "alerts" when a specific topic, name or search term appears somewhere in the news, on the web, or in discussion groups. This is invaluable for research or just watching a particular activity.
Say for example I was a medical practitioner doing research about high blood pressure and wanted alerts when anything about "high blood pressure" appeared in the news (this might eg, relate to someone else's research). Rather than searching the web myself, I can let Google do it for me and send me an email with relevant links.
First I would enter Google.com/alerts in my browser address line and go to Google Alerts. When the Google Alerts  page appears, there is a form (see above) that asks for your search terms and the frequency you want notifications.
When you click the Create Alert button after making your selections, Google sends a confirmation email to your email address with which you have to confirm your interest by clicking on a link therein (in the usual double opt-in method). Then, all you do is sit back and wait for email to arrive with information about the topic of interest.
I have used this to track news topics in which I've been interested, items about specific celebrities, or information about specific topics of interest. If you are really vain, you can enter your own name and see who is writing about you.
If you need up-to-date information as it happens, what better way to get it than to let the world's largest search engine find it for you and deliver it right to your desktop?
Why not try Google Tools now to keep track of a topic in which you are interested? You can cancel or modify your subscription at any time.
Robin
PS: Use it to spy on your competition

2 comments:

  1. I've used Google Alerts on several occasions and found it useful, but sometimes you get information you don't want. Need to be selective about keywords.

    ReplyDelete
  2. True Fred. You have to take the good with the bad. Thanks for visiting and taking the time to comment.

    ReplyDelete

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