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June 19, 2011

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Google's Me on the Web, Google Alerts and How to Put Google Alerts on Your iGoogle Page

Google's Me On The Web

Scoroncocolo, Scoroncocolo Tech Pages, Google's Me on the Web, Google Alerts and How to Put Google Alerts on Your iGoogle PageGoogle's new Me On The Web has begun to remind a lot of us just how powerful and useful Google Alerts really are.

Google's Me On The Web

Me On The Web As It Looks On Your Google Dashboard

On June 15, 2011, Google launched the Me On The Web tool to help you monitor your online identity. If you own a Google Account the new Me On The Web tool is now part of your Google Dashboard. Back on October 7th of last year I wrote a Scoroncocolo post on Google Dashboard, if you want to re-familiarize yourself with Google Dashboard.

The new Me On The Web tool that Google just launched proposes to help you set up customized Google Alerts that will inform you via email anytime search terms you specify (your name e.g.) is mentioned anywhere on the Web or searched for on Google's search engine. Google says you can also use the tool to set up Google Alerts that will notify you when your email address is encountered by Google's bots as they scour the Web.

Here's what Google says its new Me On The Web tool helps you out with:

  • Helps you setup and manage a Google profile that will appear in search results.

  • Helps you setup Google Alerts and even suggests what alerts you might want to use.

  • Advises you on how best to deal with unwanted Web content.

Of course only those of us with a Google Account and a Google Profile can use Me On The Web because you must be logged into your Google account to access your Google Dashboard and because the Me On The Web tool reports information you entered on your Google profile.

But you don't necessarily have to use the new Me On The Web tool to be notified whenever a Google bot comes across something of interest to you. You could simply, manually set up some Google Alerts. There's nothing new about Google Alerts. It's a free-to-use Google Service that's been around almost since the inception of Google in 1998. To set up one or more Google Alerts, go to Google Alerts and follow the directions.

Some Uses for Google Alerts

Using Google Alerts for Business Purposes

If you own a business or sell a product, using Google Alerts to find out what people are saying online about your business and/or products is crucial to your success. If you own a Website, it only makes sense to want to know what people are saying about it online. So make a Google Alert that is simply the URL of your site and from then on if anyone mentions your Website online, you'll know about.

And naturally, if you're a business person, you'll want to know what people are saying about your competitors so let Google Alerts help you out with that.

Using Google Alerts for Research

I write a Tech blog and I do a lot of research on the topics I write about before I even think about putting ink to paper, so to speak. Google Alerts is an invaluable research tool that I use constantly.

Using Google Alerts for security

You might want to setup a Google Alert for your name. And perhaps more importantly, you might want to setup separate Google Alerts for each one of your kids to make sure they're not sharing too much information online or engaging in risky behavior. Remember to put quotation marks around the names otherwise you'll be getting alerts for all of the names within the name, if you know what I mean.

Using Google Alerts to Ensure Against Plagiarism

If you're a blogger or a writer of any sort, you can use Google Alerts to check for plagiarism. Once you've written and published your article, story or post, find a phrase or sentence that you feel is unique to the piece you've written and use that phrase or sentence as a Google Alert.

Using Google Alerts for Researching Your Ancestry

Some people have searched their family history using Google Alerts. This is an effective way to learn of new information posted to the Web that might pertain to your family provided your family name is a relative uncommon one. If your family name is Jones or Smith your email in-box will max-out of space in a matter of days so don't try this unless your last name is something like Renderbrook or Blackwine or something equally uncommon.

Use your imagination and you'll find no end for the usefulness for Google Alerts.

Some Tips for Using Google Alerts

One important thing I found out when I first started using Google Alerts many years ago is that it is important to put quotation marks around phrases you want Google to alert you to. You want Google bots to search for and feed back to you the whole phrase and not just parts of it.

Google Alerts can read the future much better than the past. This is mostly a good thing. All of us are mostly interested in the latest news about things, events and people we're tracking. But now and then the Google bots will send us some outdated news, so remember to pay attention to the dates of articles or posts you get through Google Alerts.

Want to exclude Tweeter posts (Tweets) from the alerts you get from Google? You can do that by composing your alert like this: "kite"

If you own a Website or you write a blog, you could drive a huge amount of traffic to your site by having one or more of your pages designated as one that Google includes in Google Alerts for a particular search term. If a page or post you put up is fortunate enough to land on the first page of Google for a particular search term, then you are eligible to be included in Google Alerts for other people who have used Google Alerts to be notified when Google bots come across that term. However, just because you hit the jackpot and landed on the first page of Google for a specific search term doesn't automatically mean that you will be chosen for Google Alerts for that search term.

Once your site's page has miraculously appeared or managed to crawl onto the first page in Google's serps (search engine results pages) for a reasonably logical search term, you need to go to the Google Alerts page that includes a link to submit your site for consideration for inclusion for Google Alerts. At that point some Google employee will evaluate your site and will or will not select your page for inclusion in Google Alerts for that particular search term.

How to Put Google Alerts on Your iGoogle Page

Google Alerts, How to Put Google Alerts on Your iGoogle Page

How to Put Google Alerts on Your iGoogle Page

By default Google will email your Google Alerts to the address you've selected, but I prefer to have my alerts show up on my iGoogle Page. If you don't have an iGoogle page, you can get one by going to Google's Home Page and clicking the Gear Icon located in the upper right-hand corner of the page and in the drop-down menu clicking iGoogle. If you're setting up the page for the first time, you'll get a wizard to help you out.

Assuming you have some alerts already set up, here are the steps to follow to get your Google Alerts to show up on your iGoogle Page:

  • Go to Google Alerts at

  • Click on click here to manage your alerts.

  • Click edit to the right of the Google Alert you want to place on your iGoogle Page.

  • In the Deliver To column, click on the arrow next to the email address and click Feed and then click Save.

  • Now you should have a RSS icon to the right of the words "Google Reader" so click that icon.

  • You should now be on a page that shows some XML code. Disregard the code and press your Ctrl key an type the letter l to highlight the url in the address box.

  • Hold down your Ctrl key again and type the letter c to copy that URL to your computer's clipboard.

  • Now, go to your iGoogle page and click on Add gadgets in the upper right-hand corner of the page.

  • On the Add gadgets page click the Add feed or gadget link found on the lower left-hand side of the page.

  • Hold down your Ctrl key and type the letter v to paste the url you copied to your clipboard earlier into the box and click Save.

  • Click on Back to iGoogle home and find your new Google Alerts RSS iGoogle gadget; grab it by its titlebar and move it wherever you want.

You won't have any Google Alerts in your new iGoogle gadget immediately, but within a few hours you will see links to articles begin to show up on your gadget. By default the gadget will show only the top three stories/articles at any one time. You can click the down arrow button on the gadget to force it to show as many as the top 9 links to Web address.

I like having all my Google Alerts on my iGoogle Page rather than in any of my email accounts. Lord knows, my email in-boxes stay stuffed to the gills as it is.

Google Alerts are a great way to keep up with all the latest news about things that interest you. Just think, with Google Alerts, you learn about new things that interest you just about as fast as Google does. And if you get bored or tired of receiving news from that Google Alert you created awhile back about "past-life regression therapy", you can always go to Google Alerts at and delete it and it will be gone. I mean ... forever.

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