Google Alerts Hack: Atom or RSS feeds

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Most blog and feed specific search engines have RSS output. You can get Feedster, Technorati, Icerocket, and other search results in an RSS feed. That’s useful for tracking a subject and finding out when something new is written about it. But what about Google?

Google doesn’t offer feeds of search results, but they do offer email alerts. Combine this feature with GMail’s feeds and you can have a Google Alerts feed. GMail allows you to subscribe to an Atom feed that shows you the unread messages in your inbox. So point your Google Alerts at a Gmail box, subscribe to that feed, and you’ve got a Google Alerts feed.

One problem with this approach is that your Gmail feed is for the entire inbox and there’s no way to filter this inside Gmail. It would be nice if you could have feeds for specific labels—then you could segment your feeds based on the contents of the alert. To work around this, your’re probably going to want a separate Gmail address and Google account just for your alerts.

Google’s feed is in Atom only. What if you want an RSS feed instead? You could import the feed into Feedburner and let them serve an appropriate feed based on the feed client you’re using. If the client’s a custom application, however, Feedburner probably isn’t going to know what type of feed to send you and you may get unpredictable results. You could use Pheedo (disclaimer: I’m a founder and still own stock) for a similar purpose. Pheedo will also translate the source feed into different formats, but you can choose the format. To get RSS 2.0, you’d use a feed URL like http://pheedo.com/f/yourfeedname/rss2. You could also use one of several other tools to convert your Atom feeds to other formats.

Eric Lunt
May 3, 2006 8:15 AM

Hi Adam. You can always use the "Convert Format" service in FeedBurner to specify exactly what output format you'd like. You'll find it on the "Optimize" tab for your feed. Eric Lunt CTO, FeedBurner

Stefan Seiz
May 4, 2006 7:16 AM

Hi, just FYI, Google News offers RSS alerts like so: http://news.google.com/news?q=kalsey&output=rss Haven't tried if this might work for other Google Alerts too. Stefan

Hashim
May 5, 2006 8:32 PM

Bloglines offers a disposable email service, so you can subscribe to alerts or newslatters and be able to read them in the feed reader

jason ciment
August 9, 2006 10:31 PM

Is there a way to display a google alert inside a web page automatically? that is what i am trying to do in a part of my blog at http://www.jasonciment.com/blog/

davi
February 1, 2009 2:27 AM

it's easier to download the google reader notifier... work exactly like the google mail notifier but it's only for your RSSs

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