Saturday, April 26, 2008

Google Alerts - Another Big Brother?

Nothing is private least if you're on the Internet much. You know how we think the government knows everything about us? How they supposedly watch, listen in, and know every little thing we do? They're not the only ones. Have you heard of Google Alerts? If not, check it out at: It's an awesome way to know if someone is talking about you or something close to your heart, on the web. It's the easy way to google yourself daily without having to waste time. Thus it can be a very valuable tool if you're an author or somebody who needs PR to help their livelihood. You know what is being said about you and who's saying it - daily. It's also a neat tool for bloggers to know which blogs or groups may be talking about you so you can pop in and join the discussion. On the surface, this is excellent, no? On the other...well??? I found a not-so wonderful review of one of my books yesterday. Believe me, I wasn't so thrilled to see it. However, I know reviews are subjective so it'll give me an excuse to drown myself in chocolate, soak in a warm bubble bath, and get over it. I can taste a chocolate Cold Stone ice cream right now... Everybody's allowed their opinion. (and I get an excuse to have ice cream) Stuff like finding a not so wonderful comment about you is one thing, but what if someone is spying on you for nefarious reasons unlike writing a book review, such as spying on competitors and enemies?

So, if you're dying to know what people are saying about you, or you want to spy on someone (not that I'm advising you to, just saying it's possible) visit the Google Alerts and follow simple instructions. It will ask for your email address, but hey, it already knows far more about you than that anyway.

Be aware it's not perfect - yet. Some of the alerts I receive are about other people named "Ashley" (with another last name) or "Ladd" with another first name. So you will probably have to wade through some unimportant info (to you) to get to the gems. I wouldn't be surprised if the government consults Google for information, when they want to check up on someone.


Unknown said...

I already do google alerts - they are very imformative

As for the book review - it's just one opinion. Gird you loins and move on.

Utter Basketcase said...

I am sooooooooooooooo checking this out!! :-) xx

Anonymous said...

I've been using Google alerts with my blog's website address, and it's very helpful. But now that you mention other, more nefarious purposes it could be put to, I find myself a little more nervous. Thanks for pointing that out. Of course, there are some pretty big downsides to Google Earth (especially with Street View) and some of their other programs, too, so I suppose I shouldn't be that surprised.

Unknown said...

Yeah, Google not only gives out people's addresses and phone numbers (Of course, so does whitepages, anywho,, and the paper white pages, but Google even gives the map and directions without the person even asking).

Anonymous said...

Ashley--thanks for coming to play on my blog yesterday. It's great to (virtually) meet you! I'm looking forward to reading some of your back posts.

And it's so funny that your post was about google alerts. Last night the DH and I were talking about how to protect our privacy when we get published. (Have you ever looked at zabaserch dot com? Scary.) I hadn't heard of google alerts so I'm absolutely going to check it out. Thanks for the tip!

Anonymous said...

Umm...that's zabasearch dot com. Not to be confused with haven't-had-my-caffeine dot com.

Unknown said...

I just checked out zabasearch, Pam. I think the age of privacy is long gone.

To protect privacy when you become an author, I'd suggest to get a PO Box first. Use a pseudonym. Don't give out your real name or address or phone number.

Vi said...

wow, that's SCARY!!!!

Cindy said...

Thank for visiting my blog! I knew about Google Alerts but I never even thought about doing it on my name or my blog name! Thanks!

I met a celebrity, he was visiting my company regarding business we were doing with him. I wrote about it on my blog thinking that only my regular blog readers would see it. Well, a lot of his fans had Google Alerts set up on his name! I would have never put his photo on my blog or wrote about him if I had known that. I got so many emails! I was a little worried because I really shouldn't be putting work related things on my blog! ( I didn't mention his name here because I know what will happen now...they will all come to your blog and see this!)

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