Let Google Search While You Sleep

BY STANLEY ZAROWIN

Q. To keep current, I regularly do Internet searches on my company’s products, customers and competitors, but that takes a lot of time. Is there some way to program the computer to do such searches on a regular basis?

A. Google, the Internet search engine, recently introduced a beta product called Google Alerts (see screenshot below). It’s a free service that automatically does what you’re now doing manually.

Just provide Alerts with the key words for your queries and tell it how often you want to be alerted (once a week, once a day or as it happens) and whether you want to search the news, the Web or both. Alerts will send you an e-mail with every new thing it uncovers. To engage the service, go to www.googlealert.com .

When I first discovered it, I signed up and entered my last name to test it. Within days it alerted me that a long-lost cousin had just won an award as a sports coach and confirmed that I write for the Journal of Accountancy .

SPONSORED REPORT

Year-end tax planning and what’s new for 2016

Practitioners need to consider several tax planning opportunities to review with their clients before the end of the year. This report offers strategies for individuals and businesses, as well as recent federal tax law changes affecting this year’s tax returns.

QUIZ

News quiz: IRS warning on cyberattacks and a change in pension rules

Once again, the IRS sounds the alarm about a threat from cyberthieves. See how much you know about this and other recent news with this short quiz.

CHECKLIST

Bolster your data defenses

As you weather the dog days of summer, it’s a good time to make sure your cybersecurity structure can stand up to the heat of external and internal threats. Here are six steps to help shore up your systems.