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Some of you may have forgotten due to all of their recent developments and projects on the side, but Google is still a search engine at its core. With tens of millions of pages indexed, there’s no reason why Google shouldn’t be your go-to search solution over competitors like Yahoo! and Bing.
One thing Google has always really excelled in is integrating features of their properties separate from Search, like Gmail, Plus, Blogger, Google Calendar, into Search. The entire network of Google’s products really synergize well with one another and make for a very seamless system that allows us to manage our web experience much easier. Google is good at that, and it should really be appreciated. Another Google feature that is completely dependent and built from Search is Google Alerts.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with how Google Alerts works, it’s a simple way to create an automated trigger to send you an email or update an RSS feed, upon a particular search term showing new search results. You’re able to fine-tune this to certain result types and how many results you’d like to return, at your own specific interval.
Google Alerts is an incredibly useful system. Let me share a few of my favorite ways that you can use the service.
You’d be surprised at what you can find online that has your name pinned to it. If you have a common name, this can be an ineffective way to monitor your reputation online. With a little clever thinking though, it’s completely viable. Try monitoring the following search terms:
- Your full name followed by something relative to your location, such as a city name (“Craig Snyder, Florida“)
- Your universal Internet username or handle, or one that you use for instant messaging clients.
- Your email address.
- Your phone number.
I’m a pretty big gamer. One of the coolest new tricks that I’ve learned to help me quickly get into betas like World of Tanks, SMITE, and WoW MoP is by using Google Alerts to monitor the web for beta key giveaways. Google Alerts’ nature of offering an “only the best results” result type really helps in narrowing down your options to the most trustworthy and relevant sources.
Coupons & Promo Codes
Ever since setting up a Google Alerts trigger for “domain name coupon“, I can’t recall the last time that I’ve paid full price for a domain name. Google Search is chock full of deals and savings waiting for you to find and reap, and Google Alerts really makes it an incredibly convenient and simple experience.
Using a few of Google’s tricky little operands, you can watch Google 24/7 for new open directories that are full of music from your favorite artists. Take the following Google Alerts search term, for example: intitle:”index of”, “The Beatles”
Searching Google for such a term yields more than 200,000 results. Using Google Alerts, you’ll only get emails and RSS updates based on fresh and new finds.
What else do you use Google Alerts for? Share your interesting methods in the comments and let’s talk about it. Though it’s one of their coolest features, Alerts may be one of Google’s most under-utilized tools. If you’re not using it, you’re seriously missing out.