Persistent news search, aka news alerts

Many startups ago I ran Internet Operations for a persistent change notification service. In its simplest form, it monitored web sites and sent an email when it detected a non-trivial change. It was a great server-based product and was used by many of the major Internet companies back during the Internet boom because it was a unique service at the time. The company is long gone and similar technologies are in use all around the web today.

You may find this hard to believe but I just found myself in need of a persistent news search (a service that constantly searches new news stories and notifies me when certain terms appear) and couldn't find one! Where else would I look but Google, yet I could find nothing on the Google News page. So I turned to Google search and it turned up Google Alerts at You can set up your search to only look in news, blogs, web sites, etc. or search everything and you can have the alerts delivered in email or via RSS feed.

Once I found this on Google, I checked out and guess what? — it's more prominently displayed on its search results page! I would imagine Yahoo has the same capability but I couldn't easily find it on Yahoo's search page.


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