This is part of a series of articles on Utilizing the Internet focusing on Web 2.0 communities.
Google Alerts are emails automatically sent to you when there are new Google results for your search terms. Its almost like having a research secretary! Alerts results come from News, Web, Blogs, and Groups. You can use Google Alert to keep track of anything, including information regarding yourself, your homeschool, Bible studies, or your interests. Google alerts returns extremely relevant results. I use the results constantly and have come to rely on the service to keep me up to date in several areas.
How Can I use Google Alerts?
- Thematic unit study. Type in a history or science topic such as “Ancient Egypt” and receive all new information posted.
- Shopping–Shopping g for a specific phonic program? Create an alert with the phonic program name. You will receive a link to any blog or site sending information about that program. (You can do the same thing shopping for a brand name camera, car, high chair, etc).
- Information–Find the latest trends in the homeschool community by creating a Google Alert for lapbooking or “lap booking,” “Charlotte Mason,” “writing to learn,” “scrapbooking to learn,” “Heart of Wisdom,” etc. (don’t forget the quotations for two or more words.)
- Find the buzz. Find out who is talking about Hebrew roots in the Christian community by creating a Google Alert using buzz words such as “Hebrew roots,” “Jewish Roots,” Yeshua, Messianic, etc.
- Find almost anything; information about a politician, an event, etc.
How Does it Work?
Google Alert performs your personalized searches up to once per day, depending on capacity. You can change the maximum frequency by clicking ‘More Options’ in your search settings. Google Alerts currently offers five variations of alerts – ‘News’, ‘Web’, ‘Blogs’, ‘Groups’, and ‘Comprehensive’.
A ‘News’ alert is an email aggregate of the latest news articles that contain the search terms of your choice and appear in the top ten results of your Google News search.
A ‘Web’ alert is an email aggregate of the latest web pages that contain the search terms of your choice and appear in the top twenty results of your Google Web search.
A ‘Blogs’ alert is an email aggregate of the latest blog posts that contain the search terms of your choice and appear in the top ten results of your Google Blog search.
A ‘Groups’ alert is an email aggregate of new posts that contain the search terms of your choice and appear in the top fifty results of your Google Groups search.
A ‘Comprehensive’ alert is an aggregate of the latest results from multiple sources into a single email to provide maximum coverage on the topic of your choice.
How Do I Sign Up?
Visit the Google Alerts home page, enter your search, the type of alert you’d like (News, Web, etc.), how often you’d like Google to check for results, and your email address. When you’re done, click the ‘Create Alert’ button. Google will send you a confirmation email; clicking the link in this email will activate your Alert.
How Often Will I get Email?
The frequency you select when you set up your alert determines how often Google checks for new results, not necessarily how often you’ll receive alerts. If you select “once a day,” we’ll check for new results once a day, which means you’ll get a maximum of one email per day. If you choose the “as it happens,” we’ll check for new results continuously and send you an alert whenever they find a new result.
How Much Does it Cost?
Google Alert is free service for personal use. Register and enter up to five queries and you’ll get regular e-mails with up to 50 Google results per topic. If you need more you can upgrade track more search terms with greater depth.
This is part of a series of articles on Utilizing the Internet focusing on Web 2.0 communities because these social networking tools are a type fellowship by allowing us to find like-minded friends, share information and collaborate.
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