Teaching unit: 

Use Google Alerts

Google alerts is a service that generates search engine results, based on criteria provided by you, and delivers the results to your e-mail account. This service is useful for many reasons such as monitoring the web for specific information about your company, your kids, your online content's popularity or your competition. Use it also to keep up to date with new advancements, celebrity gossip or current trends. 

1 - Open the website. Once you have a web browser open, type “Google Alerts” into your search engine or go directly to the website http://www.google.com/alerts. This will bring you to the Google Alerts home page.


2 - Enter your search. Enter the topic you would like to receive alerts on. As soon as you begin typing, a sample of your first Google alert will appear. If you are not getting the results you expected you can change your input right away.


3 - Create the Alert. Enter a valid email address which Google will use to send you the results of your query. Then complete the process by clicking on the red create alert button. You will then receive a email from Google Alerts asking you to confirm or cancel this request. Once you confirm the request you will begin receiving your alerts. Your first basic Google Alert is now complete.


4- Choose source type. There are some additional options available to tailor your search to your particular needs. For instance you may choose the type of sources you wish to search from. The default is everything, which is a good choice if you're not sure which to pick. The other options are: News, Blogs, Video, Discussions and Books. If you have a look at this screenshot, the same topic is chosen as in the original example but the source is changed to video. You can see how this changes the type of results you would receive.


5 - Choose the frequency. You can now indicate how often you would like the results to be delivered to your inbox. You have the options of once a week, once a day, or as it happens. As it happens may deliver the results to your inbox multiple times a day depending of how often it appears in the news stream, so if this is likely to be annoying, don't choose it. Once a day and once a week will stockpile the results and only deliver them on your schedule. The default for this option is once a day.

6 - Select search volume. The last choice you have is to set the volume. This allows you to switch the volume between only the best results, in which Google filters your results for relevance to the topic, and all results.

7- Check out the advanced features. You may want to modify or manage your current searches. In order to do this you will need to sign up for a Google account. To do this, all you need is your email address and a password.


8 - If you wish to add a new search while logged in, simply click where it says Create New Alert. You will be re-directed to the original home page where you follow the same steps as earlier. The benefit of adding new alerts while you're logged in is that you no longer need to confirm new alerts before they're activated.


9 - Modify current searches. While signed in, you can also modify any current searches you have. Beside each alert is an edit button (see black arrow). This allows you to modify your keywords as well as the volume and frequency of how they are delivered. You also have the choice of having the alert delivered to your inbox or directly into an RSS feed (see red arrows). Once you're done you must either save or cancel the changes you have made.


10- Delete. If you wish to delete one or more of your alerts, check off the box directly to the left of it (see red arrows). Once a box is ticked the delete button will become available (see black arrow). Once you click delete your search will be removed. If you want it back, you'll have to re-create it.


11- Choose formats/exporting. You can also choose to receive your e-mails in either HTML or plain text format according to your personal preference. The last feature Google provides is allowing you to export your searches, this will allow you to access them in CSV format.


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