Friday, October 25, 2013

How to NOT miss a single episode of SearchRearch

If you're like me, your online life is lived primarily in a small number of apps.  

For me, I run two browsers (Chrome for my work email and web-apps, Firefox for my personal stuff), each with a few windows to partition my work into logical "sets" of tabs that belong together.  

I also "live" in a text editor for all of my writing.  There are other apps floating around, but in general, I try to keep the total number of active apps to a minimum.  Say, 3.  

What this means is that I try to NOT have a zillion apps for every part of my online life.  So while I now occasionally use Feedly as my Google Reader replacement for RSS feeds, I often forget to check it. 

How to work around the "I forgot to check my reader" problem...  

There ARE a few blogs that I really don't want to miss.  My "must read" app continues to be Gmail.  I read through everything about twice / day.  And email has become my "archive" of choice for interactions.  It is, in effect, a personal record of my interactions with people and organizations.  

So.. how do I make sure I don't miss a single important blog update from my favorite bloggers? 

Answer:  Use Google Alerts. 

Easy.  I'll use SearchResearch as an example.  

1.  Click on   It'll look like this: 

2.  Use the site: operator to scoop up everything newly published on that site.  In this example, I'm going to put in and have it update "as it happens" sending me "all the results."  

You can also use this Alert method to watch web sites of people you're also interested.  For example, you can monitor any updates to MY website by setting up an Alert for:

Don't be confused by the  the second "sites" is just the subdomain name of the Google "Sites" product.  

If you set up your Alert this way, any time I push a new update to a class, or put out a new picture of me diving in some exotic locale, you won't miss it!   (Don't worry if you do... I only update it around once every two weeks.)  

Then, to manage your Alerts, just go back to and you'll see a control panel where you can adjust the search query, the frequency of updates, and delete them when you no longer are interested in tracking.  

Remember that the query is just that--a fully formed Google query.  You can put any legal query in there (including using double quotes, OR, filetype: , site: , AROUND, etc...)  

Search on (continuously)!  


  1. I really appreciate hearing what others use to keep current. To answer the survey I had to go through lots of 'bookmarks'. Even though I think I'm organized I feel searching through them is very inefficient. How do you manage/search your library of bookmarks?

    1. Interesting question: I don't actually USE bookmarks. Can you say why you use them? (What's the use case?) What do others think?

    2. Hello Dr. Russell and RoseMary.

      I use bookmarks for:

      a) Frequent visits.
      b) Pages I found by luck and unlikely to be found again
      c) Pages that shows interesting articles that I want to read later.
      d) Google products, tips and tricks. It is easy to go there as Rosemary says with only a word in Chrome Browser.

  2. I have hundreds of bookmarks.
    Organized into folders and alphabetical order (need to redo as new ones get added).
    Sync'd across all devices.(PC>Android>Chromebook)
    I always start up with my "frequent visits" bookmarks
    Just discovered because of this question that I can search keywords on Chromebook and Chrome Browser on PC. Not available for Android (Chrome or Safari browser).
    I also use “saved pages” so I can read webpages when I’m offline. I’ve been doing this on Android.
    I don't know any other way. I am really curious to know how others manage websites that they want to save.

    1. You asked why and perhaps I should give an example of my use of bookmarks. I have a sub folder Google Searches >Wednesday Challenges>Current Search>Previous Searches. So as I do my search I can go back to sites. I usually rename them so give me quick clue of what I found useful. I clear the Current Searches each week putting them into Previous Searches. Then I review the Previous Searches folder & save worthwhile ones elsewhere (Search Sites, General Internet Knowledge etc) that I think may be useful in the future. As I do my search I also save the url's to a document on Google Drive to compile my solution.

  3. Wow - it's interesting how other people work. I used to use for my bookmarks when I was lecturing as I could use the public nature of the tags as an ever-evolving reading list for my students. I live my life in RSS now, so Google Reader / Feedly are vital to me. The ability to mark articles to read later, easily share to Facebook / G+ or via email and sync across multiple devices are what I want most, and email doesn't do that anywhere near as efficiently for me.

  4. In firefox I use the keyword feature in bookmarks to get to my regular websites. So for this site I have saved the keyword as srs. So when I type that into the address bar it loads this blog site. The feature is in the properties of the bookmark. So right click on a bookmarked webpage select properties and then add your easy to remember letters or term in the keyword field. I can't find the feature in chrome, somebody may know where it is.