Alerts: How To Let Search Engines Work for You 24/7

Let’s say you want to keep up on a news story, follow the hottest sports stars or be the first to know anything new about your favorite topic. You can keep searching online (tedious) or subscribe to website RSS feeds (time-consuming to find) or you can simply let your search engine alert you when something new comes up.
With alerts from the leading search engines — Google, Yahoo! and Bing — the latest updates leap over to you. Automatically. Here’s how it works and how it can make you more productive:
Google Alerts is the easiest and most intuitive option. Just type in your keywords, select the types of sites you want Google to search (news, blogs, video, discussion, books or everything) and how often you want to be alerted. Then key in your email address and you’re all set.
You don’t need an account to get started but if you want to actually manage your Google Alerts — as in stop them at some point or make changes — then you will need an account. This means setting up a address. If you want your alerts to go to a different address, no problem. Google allows you to have several email addresses associated with your account and you can send alerts to whichever you prefer. This comes in handy if, for example, you want business alerts to go to one address and personal ones to go to another.
Yahoo! Alerts sends you alerts via email like Google Alerts but can also alert you by instant message or text. In addition to keyword alerts, you can choose from predetermined alert categories and sign up for alerts from on Yahoo! websites (like Yahoo! Weather and Yahoo! Finance) and websites with RSS feeds and Yahoo! Alert widgets. You need to set up an account first, but be aware that finding your Alerts page from your Yahoo! homepage is no hop through the park so you may want to bookmark it separately.
With Bing from Microsoft, alerts work differently. Pop-ups appear on a toolbar called the Bing Bar, a feature that gives you quick access to a variety of features including customizable alerts from predetermined categories. The Bing Bar is available only on Windows Internet Explorer (sorry, not for Macs) and there is no keyword alert option at this time.
Whichever alert system you choose, having your search engine work for you 24/7 can be a huge time saver. And give you an easy way to store and sort your information, too.