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Google Alert: Another RSS Feeder (and good all around resource)

Another gem of a resource that has a hook or two into the RSS game, is the free Google Alert service.

Google Alert runs daily Google searches for you and emails you whenever new results appear. Many people use Google Alert to keep track of what the web is saying about them, their interests or any projects they are involved in.

Even if you have no clue or interest in RSS, Google Alert is an extremely useful tool to keep you in tune into web resources that cover areas that interest you.

<tiphat>Found a link to this via some long last path to an entry at IDBlog.</tiphat>

What Google Alert does is pretty simple.You simply use the keywords for a topic or successful Google search that yields worthy results, e.g your teaching discipline, favorite baseball team, loveable movie quote, old computer programs, or your name if you want to see who is linking to you or who else has your name (I am top of the I Feel Lucky Heap for my name ;-).

After creating your account (it takes about 45 seconds) at Google Alert, you can enter up to 5 different search queries that you want results tracked from Google.

The default action is getting a daily email with a summary of Google searches that match your result. The first load can be big, but subsequent emails should send only newer items (I do not know for 100% sure, I do not want daily email)- but I set it so it is runs only when I visit the site and tell it do do an update.

But the nifty thing is that it also generates, if you ask for it, an RSS feed and an HTML link summary, for every one of the searches (using the “Toolkit”).

You can use this service than to create a dynamic RSS file for a Google Search (MT users can do this with the Google API, but the Google Alert feed can work for any system).

For example, here are the three test feeds I set up for CDB:

Feeds for “learning object”:
HTML XML

Feeds for “electronic portfolio”:
HTML XML

Feeds for “cogdogblog”: (vanity feed ;-)
HTML XML

Again, even if you have no interest in RSS, this is a powerful tool anyone can use to stay tuned into the latest information (according to the oracle Google) in their area.

Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.