Let’s get the ball rolling on this post with a discussion of Google Alerts. My integration of this app was borne out of an incident that I recently experienced using another app called ProxiFeed. The two have certain similarities. With ProxiFeed, you teach it to look for new relevant content on the web around a given set of key words or phrases that you specify. ProxiFeed then goes out and finds articles and Tweets them automatically through your Twitter account. You do … nada (smile). Pretty sweet unless a “cloaked website” slips through the cracks and a Tweet goes out, with your name on it, and the content includes scenes taken right out of Hustler Magazine. Yikes! Here’s the problem. As of right now, you have no way to preview these Tweets. They just go out. In ProxiFeed’s defense, properly screening these is pretty darn impossible to be 100% effective. They are working at making this better and they have told me that in the fourth quarter they will be integrating a “preview” function. Cool. Maybe then I can turn it back on (smile).
Google Alerts is similar in that you teach Google to go out and find those same kinds of articles using keywords or phrases. Like ProxiFeed, you can have it search on multiple parameters. The huge difference is that Alerts will then deliver links, and a brief description of the article, to you in a aggregated email format either daily or immediately when they are identified. You can then look at the articles and decide whether or not they are “Tweet Worthy”, FaceBook, or wherever else you may wish to share them. There is also an alternative to email alerts. You can have these articles go directly to ……..
Your Google Reader. I have my Google Reader loaded into my iGoogle Home Page. What I like about this is that I can scan articles as they come in and then click on the article name and get a pop-out of the article itself for my review. Then, if I wish, I can click on a link to take me to the original article site and I can decide what, if anything, I want to do with it. However, I can also go to my reader screen itself, manage my subscriptions, look at an individual feed to see articles on file (even those I have read) and then look at the full article within Reader. A recent feature that has been added lets me go to the settings screen and select services that I might wish to send this article to including, for example, Twitter, FaceBook, or LinkedIn. Even to something like Posterous.
For what it is worth, LinkedIn also makes a toolbar for your browser that you can click on any article and share it on LinkedIn. FaceBook has a browser button for their site that does exactly the same thing. ShareThis will also put a button on your browser to select where you want to share a page. And, if those are not enough to get you by, HootSuite will grab a page and let you Tweet it now or later at a time of your choosing and, if you have integrated Ping.FM to HootSuite, you can send those pages out to your other services also. I also have one for Posterous. Believe it or not, I use all of these apps daily. Yes, I am a sick puppy the meds are helping (smile).
Here’s something kind of fun and new, Google Voice. This app is by invitation only at this time which means you go to the site and ask to be allowed to try it out. I received an email back in a couple of days that extended that invitation. And, if they invited me, you know that they are not that discriminating (smile). So, what’s the dealio with Voice? Well, watch this ….
I’m still playing with Voice but it’s pretty cool. Among other things, your voice mails are registered on your account page with the person’s phone number, and name, if you have taught it that. You can listen to the voice mail and/or read the translated written description (needs a little work) and choose to call that person back or send them an SMS. How will I use this? Still working on it but, for example, were it not for my T-Mobile Hot Spot connection in my home, my cell phone would be virtually useless. So, with Voice, I can tell it to ring both my land line and my cell line and then choose which phone to answer the call with. Keep in mind though, you will choose/be assigned, a Google Voice phone number and, for it to work, calls must come in via that phone number.
Well, that’s enough fun for today! Thanks for visiting!
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