One of the fun conversations I’ve had with sourcers over the last year is figuring out the sneaky ways they keep ahead on things. I know one of the tools in that arsenal is Google Alerts. The product alerts you to new sites, news stories, or blog posts on any keyword (and most importantly, complex search string) that you want and delivers it to your inbox or RSS reader.
Or at least it used to.
As someone who has used Google Alerts for a long time, the product is pretty bad these days. If you want anything resembling “as it happens” type speed, just forget about it. That’s not to mention that RSS feeds were just as bad at delivering timely information. And I’m not alone, this is a problem for many.
There is an alternative though.
Luxembourg-based Talkwalker is a social media monitoring company that has now released its own keyword-based alerts resource. The free service utilizes Google’s Web, news, and blog databases and delivers alerts by email or RSS.
So, are Talkwalker Alerts the Google Alerts replacement many are looking for?
I spent a few hours running several alerts and at this point I’m both optimistic and even impressed.
If you’ve ever used Google Alerts, Talkwalker Alerts is as close to a clone of it as I’ve seen. You put in your search and, depending on the specificity of your keywords, you can be seeing alerts within the hour.
I have been impressed with it and paused all of my remaining Google Alerts this weekend. Talkwalker seems to bring more timely information to me quicker.
For you advanced searchers and alert hackers, you’ll want to make sure to check out what boolean operators are passed to the alert system. While support is broad, some things (like site or filetype specific queries) aren’t supported right now. That being said, if you have some searches that don’t utilize that functionality, I would encourage you to try it out.