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What to Watch in 2018: The Biggest Tech Trends of the Year to Come

Reading Time: 3 minutes2017 has been a tumultuous year the world over – not least in technology. Between massive hacks of public and private organisations, the death of net neutrality in America, and the massive (and temporary) upsurge in the value of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, 2018 might have a tall bill to live up to. Here are the top five predictions for big tech trends over the coming twelve months [..]

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Sesame Credit and the Future of Social Credit

Reading Time: 2 minutesWhen it comes to bashing countries for poor internet freedom practices, China usually appears near the top of the list – and with good reason. Perhaps in part that’s because, in contrast with more crude filtering systems adopted in many authoritarian states, the Great Firewall is an almost elegant panopticon […]

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Google versus Amazon: Whoever Wins, Consumers Lose

Reading Time: 3 minutesThe internet has always been defined by struggles between the titans. Just think of the Browser Wars – first fought between Internet Explorer and Netscape, and later Firefox, Chrome, and Explorer. They were sources of great innovation, certainly – looking back at a browser from even the mid 2000s is like dealing with alien technology […]

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How do I add my Google Alerts to Cronycle?
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Google Alerts

The way many people keep track of relevant content is via Google Alerts. Google alerts are a service provided by Google, which alerts the recipient when new articles (or blog posts / video etc) are scraped by their search engine.

These typically are sent to your inbox once a day, and are filled with all manner of press releases and articles from the web. They are a great resource for content marketers and public relations professionals who want to make sure they know everything about a specific topic.

In order to get started on Cronycle quickly, you may want to start by having your Google Alerts as feeds in Cronycle. So, here’s how you do it.

Set up your Google Alerts as RSS feeds rather than emails

Go to www.google.com/alerts

Most people will be logged into their Google account already, but in case you’re not then sign in.

You will see a list of the google alerts which you subscribe to. It may look a bit like this:

Google Alert Screenshot

You can see my ‘content curation’ and ‘relevant content’ alerts are already RSS feeds. This is signified by the RSS icon.

However, my Periscope Google Alert is currently an email update. To change this click on the edit icon (currently highlighted in blue).

Google Alert Menu

You will then see the above menu. On “Deliver to” select “RSS feed”. Click “Update Alert” to save your changes.

You will return to the original list. To access the RSS feed then click on the RSS icon. Then copy and paste this link into your Cronycle using the box below in the sources tab.

Create Alert - Past RSS Link zoomed

And you’re done!

 

 

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In the wake of Google Reader and the midst of social media’s reign, the RSS feed chugs along

RSS allows publishers to syndicate information automatically, to deliver content right to users’ fingertips.  They no longer have to check their favorite sites to see if new content has been published—technology does it for them.  But these days, that convenience is commonplace.   Social media enables an even larger audience not only to receive content from the sites that interest them, but to become publishers themselves.  Although few are questioning that RSS has a space in the digital content consumption marketplace, many contend that the space may be shrinking—a theory bolstered by the demise of Google Reader.

Google retired its service, which was the most popular RSS reader, on July 1, 2013, explaining, “While the product has a loyal following, over the years usage has declined.”  (However, many believe this decision had more to do with office politics and Google’s plans for its own social network, Google+.)  A host of worthwhile services, including This Old Reader, Feedly and Flipboard, were ready to take in the millions of Google transplants, but although RSS still has a fierce and loyal following, social media is proving a sufficient alternative for the average user.

“We definitely see more publishers using the option for social networks versus the option for RSS,” notes Bruce Ableson, vice president of client solutions at LiveFyre, a tech company that offers a suite of real-time products that allow users to curate content from various sources and host in one place.  “We still use RSS Feeds all the time, though, especially at the smaller publisher level,” he says.

Although there’s still a huge need for RSS, Ableson notes that publishers seem more incentivized to drive readers to follow them on social networks than to subscribe to their RSS feeds.

“It’s perfectly possible that for many, social media is the new RSS,” says Rob Hicks, founder and chief data scientist of Bright North.   “RSS was all about putting alerts in one place, which is exactly what Twitter does because most media sites have at least added, if not replaced, their RSS with Tweets.”

The problem is, there is a lot of noise to get through.  Twitter isn’t only about signifying a new piece of quality content.  It’s a hodgepodge of hashtags and interactions, making it difficult for users to quickly identify what’s worth reading.  “It makes sense that brands and publishers have embraced Twitter, but whether it does as an effective job as a good RSS consuming platform is another story.  I don’t think it does,” Hicks opines.

What Twitter does do well, of course, is the social aspect.  “Social networks give people the ability to recommend stuff and become pseudo-publishers even if they haven’t written the content they’re sharing.  I might follow someone because they are excellent curators,” says Hicks.  “It adds a new level of curation which you could argue is more valuable than the original RSS thing was in the first place.  I’m not sure I would agree, but I see the argument.”

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