For those in business, staying up-to-date with news related to customers, competitors and industry is important. Unfortunately few services curate this information in a personalized way.
Wouldn’t it be great to have a Facebook for business—a platform that could alert you of new opportunities and threats to your company as well as general developments in your industry? Whether you work in marketing or business development, at a multinational retail chain or a tech startup, the right information can help you identify leads, predict competitor actions, ward off damage to your company’s reputation, and more.
Several popular, freely-available sources provide this information, but they have their drawbacks.
Subscribing to mailing lists, consuming social media feeds, and (for more technical folks) employing an RSS reader are all ways of staying informed. But scanning these sources (not to mention configuring readers) can take time. Smart people automate, which allows them to avoid searching through large volumes of content to find the updates they need.
Google provides two well-known options: Google News, which helps users find the latest news stories related to their areas of interest, and Google Search, which provides a comprehensive list of results matching the search terms they enter. Google Search returns highly-relevant results. One major drawback? Every time users want to check for new updates, they have to visit the Google website and reenter their keywords. The same is true of Google News.
Another disadvantage of these solutions is that users have to choose between getting the most relevant results (with Google Search) and the most recent results (with Google News). Why can’t they get both? Perhaps worst of all, searchers often have to read through many results to find those that are useful (Google Search’s list format requires a good deal of scanning effort).
Then there’s Google Alerts. Google Alerts (GA) provides more immediate results by sending out emails when content related to a user’s keywords is published on blogs, online forums and corporate websites. GA is meant to provide results that are both new and – because they’re based on specified keywords – relevant. Unfortunately, this isn’t always what users get.
Let’s say you’re tracking “Ford” to see if you should keep the auto company in your investment portfolio. Using Google could turn up a Kijiji ad for a low-mileage Ford Escort. You may have to click through several pages containing this type of results, and you’ll likely wind up opening some irrelevant links.
Unless carrying out daily research on specified topics is your only task at work, you probably don’t have the time to dip continuously into an ocean of information to find new and noteworthy content. In fact, spending excessive time in an inbox or on blogs or social media can get many people fired.
It’s a tricky issue. For many professionals, having the latest intel is essential to making good, informed professional decisions. An ideal solution would include technology that automatically aggregates relevant information from a user’s many feeds, compiling them into one intuitive dashboard. It would be available whenever the user had time to check it, but it would also send out alerts when time-sensitive information became available. Until recently, no such solution existed.
Having recognized this problem, our team at Gnowit – a web-monitoring and intelligence company – developed a product that can draw in, analyze, and visualize a user’s Google Alerts results. We are now moving this product into open beta for a limited time (until the launch on January 28).
Gnowit’s Data Visualization for Google Alerts uses the same full-site monitoring, full-text analytics, and workflow-automation technology that powers our company’s other solutions (which include media monitoring, Canadian Government publication monitoring, and custom enterprise solutions that process and provide insight into very large volumes of data).
Google Alerts users can stop making decisions out of their inbox. It’s no longer necessary to read every email from Google. Now, you can access full-text filters that eliminate duplicate content, enable document previews via automatically-extracted summaries, and allow you to organize results by various criteria (including topic, keyword, sentiment, and date).
Gnowit’s Data Visualization for Google Alerts is available at a compelling price – free. Open-beta participants can create more searches than subsequent users, a benefit they will retain for life. Existing beta users have found themselves spending less time engaged in monitoring activities. Gnowit has helped them increase their productivity and pick up on all business signals relevant to their work.
Power users have taken advantage of an upgrade that has allowed them to get up to 100x more results from crawlers run directly by Gnowit. These results are delivered within minutes of being published (as opposed to every hour, which is the case with Google) and are made more useful through the advanced archiving, translation, report-generation, and business-signal mapping capabilities provided by Gnowit’s flagship products.