Friday, February 13, 2009

Press Clippings of the New Millenium.... Google Alerts


In February of 2003, Google engineer Naga Sridhar got tired of regularly visiting Google News to check for developments in the imminent US war with Iraq. So he put together an application that would email him when a news story broke that matched a specified query. Naga demonstrated his prototype to co-founder Sergey Brin, who set up a news alert for “google.”

With encouragement from both Sergey and Marissa Mayer (Google’s Director of Consumer Products), Naga began working full-time on what has become News Alerts. Six months later, links to News Alerts were added to Google Labs’ home page and to Google News.

Google then added Web Alerts to track changes to web pages. Now both News Alerts and Web Alerts have been merged into a single service: Google Alerts. An Alert can watch the news, the web, or both. It can also watch Google Groups.

How does an Alert work? You specify the query or queries you’d like Google to monitor. As Google searches the Internet, if it finds a change that you’ve asked to be notified about — that is, one of your Alerts — you’ll get an email message. Google will tell you about new results once a week, once a day, or as soon as they’re found. (You won’t necessarily get a message every day or week. Google only sends email if there’s something new to report.)

Google Alerts are useful to:
monitor a developing news story
keep current on a competitor or industry
learn where you or your company is cited or quoted
get the latest on a celebrity or event
keep tabs on your favorite sports teams
find when people link to your site
discover new websites on a certain topic
and more.

Note: Google Alerts is just one of several different services that will email you Google search results. Google Alert, a similarly-named third-party service available at, is one of those services.

To set up Google Alerts, go to
What happens next will depend on whether you have a Google Account or not:
If you have a Google Account, you’ll be working with the Manage Your Alerts page.
Here you can create, edit, and delete alerts.

If you don’t have a Google Account, you’ll use the Google Alerts home page. You’ll create your alerts from this page and manage them via email. This isn’t as convenient as the Manage Your Alerts page, but it’s useful if you don’t want a Google Account.

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