Google Alerts – know what people are saying about you online — automatically

What if you had your own, personal Google search engine that searched the far corners of the Web for the very things that interested you, automatically and then delivered the results to you at regular intervals each day or even as the terms appeared? Does this sound awesome? Well, you can almost have all of that with Google Alerts.

Google Alerts are email updates of the latest relevant Google results (web, news, etc.) based on your choice of query or topic. Enter the topic you wish to monitor, then click preview to see the type of results you’ll receive. Some handy uses of Google Alerts include:

  • monitoring a developing news story
  • keeping current on a competitor or industry
  • getting the latest on a celebrity or event
  • keeping tabs on your favorite sports teams.

I use Google Alerts to monitor what people are saying about me (reputation management), what people are saying about my clients and what is being said about topics that interest me (the mythical “iPhone 5” for instance). All that is required to get started is a Google Account. Take a look at the short video below where I demonstrate Google Alerts:

Posted by Shawn Roberts in Blogposts, Social Media for Attorneys

Google Chrome: Another step on its’ march to browser domination?

Google Chrome

I have used Google’s Chrome browser either on a PC or MAC since its release in September 2008. It always feels like Chrome is on the cutting-edge of browser enhancements. This is another example, in story from ReadWriteWeb:

Google Chrome Will Sync Multiple Browser Profiles

Hopefully, eventually, Google Chrome enhancements will completely eliminate the need to have two browsers open simultaneously.

Do you use Chrome? If not, what browser do you use?

Posted by Shawn Roberts in Blogposts

4 web apps that keep my business jetting through the cloud

My business is my law practice. I’m a small practice so being efficient is critical. I cannot have technology be an obstacle, it must be a benefit. That is where cloud services come in. The benefits of a local application, anywhere you can access the Internet, without the maintenance requirements. Below are four applications that are vital in running my business on a day to day basis:

1. Google Apps for Business. ($50 per user, but there is a free version). The suite of products that includes mail, calendar and contacts is the backbone of my communicaiton and contact management. The Gmail-like mail is super-flexible and it is nice to be able to login in almost anywhere and see the same interface.

2. Bill4Time. (plans starting at free trial, plans starting at $19.95 a month). Without billing, I would be operating a charity. To meet my billing needs, I use Bill4Time a web-based service that allows fairly detailed time tracking, invoicing and invoice management. It appears to be written for attorneys and CPAs.

3. Google Reader. (Free) I need to current on news and cases to communicate with my clients. I accomplish this through Google Reader which easily integrates without almost every other product I use.

4. Google Voice. (Free) My go-to service for managing communications, both spoken and textual. Google Voice allows me to have one telephone number that can forward to multiple numbers and the ability to text from the same number. The ability to manage my Google Voice account to a granular level from the web is also a plus.

What web-apps are critical in operating your business?

Posted by Shawn Roberts in Blogposts

Untethering text messaging from the phone w/ Google Voice

Text messaging is to phones as pillows are to bed. With Google Voice though you can text from just about any web-enabled device. I have talked about Google Voice before and it is one of my favorite web tools. The convenience of having one phone number to rule them all is wonderful. That one phone number is for voice calls and text messages. You can carry on text while sitting in front of your computer or typing on your tablet. You can ditch the cell phone but continue the conversation using a full keyboard. All of this and you can manage your text messages on the computer, through your Google Voice account.

If you have have not tried Google Voice, you can check out the website here or just watch the video Google put together to explain the service below.

Posted by Shawn Roberts in Blogposts

Burned by Feedburner

Feedburner is a Google service that “provides custom RSS feeds and management tools to bloggers, podcasters, and other web-based content publishers.” Wikipedia It is highly recommended by many of the bloggers and podcasters that I follow and interact with. For example, in setting my podcast “Estate Planning Demystified” I “burned” the feed generated by my podcast host Libsyn creating a new feed, managed by Feedburner. It that new feed that I submitted to iTunes, the BlackBerry Podcast Store and other places.

A great idea — until I tried to log into to manage my Feedburner feeds and they were gone. That is right: completely vanished. I have been searching for days through Google help, customer support, Twitter friends with no luck in finding the feeds. Google Apps customer support told me that it was not apps issue even though the account which held the feeds was tied to my Google Apps account. The galling thing is that the feeds are active: when I added a new podcast to Libsyn it went out through the Feedburner and updated in iTunes!

Its like a carnival barker in the dunking game at the state fair, he continues to yell at you while you throw the 5 balls for ten dollars at a 3 inch by 3 inch spot. Frustrating.

Posted by Shawn Roberts in Blogposts

Top 5 Free Google Apps Add-ons For Work

This week’s TechTipTuesday looks at an app store for Google.  Google long ago push beyond being a killer search engine and advertising platform and started offering many applications for business. Google offers “Google Apps for Business” a productivity suite of web-based software that includes Gmail, calendar, contacts and many more utilities.

Last March, Google launched its Apps Marketplace, which provides a platform for third parties to create software to complement the native Google Apps applications.  You can browse, app store-style, hundreds of apps that work alongside your Google Apps.  If you have not had a chance, check out the Marketplace.

PCWorld recently identified its Top 5 Apps in the Marketplace.  This a good starting place for finding some applications to increase your productivity, effeciciency and, generally, make your life easier.

Read the PCWorld story.

Google Apps Marketplace

Posted by Shawn Roberts in Blogposts

A detente in the tech cold war

Apple and Google started out as strong allies when the iPhone launched in June 2007.  cold_war_again_201155Gradually, the relationship broke down through a series of events which culminated with rejection of Apple’s rejection of Google’s Voice Application from the App Store.  Today, there is a sign that the companies may be finding a way to work together.

The Unofficial Apple Weblog reports (via Business Insider) that Google and Apple have entered into another multi-year licensing agreement covering Google search on the iOS:

Business Insider is reporting that Apple and Google have extended the deal that brought Google search to the iOS. In a recent interview with Charlie Rose, Google CEO Eric Schmidt mentioned that his company’s arrangement with Apple has been “recently extended.”

You can check out the full article here.  Is this an indication of better relations, that the relationship was never as bad as thought, or neither?  Let me know what you think.

Posted by Shawn Roberts in Blogposts

GV Connect -Google Voice for the iPhone is back.

It was about a year ago that Apple made a splash by rejecting Google’s native Google Voice app for the iPhone and then removing existing Google Voice applications from the App Store.  Apparently, Apple has changed course and is allowing Google Voice apps into the App Store.  One of the first is GV Connect.  Check out my brief overview below.

Posted by Shawn Roberts in Blogposts

Insert your business into Google with “places” #TechTipTuesday

Google has placed itself squarely in most people’s lives with search, advertising, Maps, Gmail, Docs and other applications.  It is only natural that Google would be a source of location services that allows people to easily locate your business.  Enter Google places.

Google places allows a business owner to place its’ business directly onto Google Maps.  Since Google is the world’s most popular search engine by a lot, it makes sense to easily found there.  Jay Fleischman discusses the benefits of Google places and how to set it up in his recent blog post, 6 Easy Steps To Setting Up Google Places For Your Law Firm.

Check it out here.

Google places from Jay Fleischman

Posted by Shawn Roberts in Blogposts