Keep Tabs on Your Searches with Google Alerts

Receive alerts in your email Inbox or RSS reader when something you’re after makes its way into the Google Web index or a Google News story.

There are two classes of search that one generally runs in Google. One is of the sort that you generally run just the once: you’re trying to find information on some topic, a phone number, or that URL you visited yesterday but have since forgotten.

Then there’s the search that you’d run every day if you could. You’re interested in a particular subject matter and want to know the moment Google finds and indexes something new on the topic.

There are a couple of services available that’ll do the trick: the official Google Alerts notifies you of any new web pages or news stories matching your search criteria, while the third-party service GoogleAlert watches only for new web pages but sports a few extra features and delivery options not found in Google’s version.


Google’s Web index does not consider a page “new” based on the date it was created. Instead, it considers a page new based on the date that it was found and indexed by the Googlebot. For more detail on the difference, see “daterange:” under the “Special Syntax” section in Chapter 1.

Google Alerts

Google Alerts (, Google’s official alert offering, allows you to monitor both Google’s Web index and Google News stories. To set up a Google Alert, visit the Google Alerts page. In the Create a Google Alert form (shown in ...

Get Google Hacks, 2nd Edition now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from nearly 200 publishers.