Saturday, June 23, 2007

Create your own personal news agent

Setting up a news alert on Google Most of us have topics we follow with special interest, being it for job reasons or personal interest. As more and more content comes online, the web is often our most obvious source. Thanks to News Alerts from Google this is easier than ever, despite the enormous amount of online content.

The easiest way to set it up is to go to Google News and search for the term(s) you're interested in. In the results page you will find alert options in the left hand margin; either web feeds (marked cryptically as RSS and Atom) or mail alerts. How often the web feed is updated depends on you feed reader, but mail alerts can be set to once a week, once a day or "as they happen".

It may pay off to fine tune your search terms. A search for ABB may get you news about the Allman Brothers Band as well as the urban guerrilla Alexa Boncayo Brigade. Searching for [ABB -boncayo -brothers] will solve that. If you're searching for a term like Web 2.0 or Fred Kindle, you should enclose them as "web 2.0" and "Fred Kindle" respectively, else you will get all articles with the two terms, but not necessarily together. Also remember Google does not differentiate between upper and lower case.

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