Now that Google has canned RSS alerts with Reader, it's time for RSS hackers to figure out solutions.
Google pulled another clever trick on RSS purists by removing Google RSS alerts when the killed Reader. They renamed RSS alerts “Reader alerts” to give them an excuse to kill RSS alerts when they killed Reader, even though Google RSS alerts were not Google Reader dependent – they could be consumed by any newsreader. Whatever...
You can convert your Google RSS alerts to email alerts, but if there’s one thing RSS is better at than email, it’s processing keyword alerts quickly.
So what do you do?
Google Alerts recently noted that RSS alerts are “temporarily unavailable” which implies the possibility of return. I wouldn’t count on it. Google Alerts have been perceived to be on the chopping block at any rate. And Yahoo’s RSS alerts are going away soon also, they were supposed to be gone already, though mine are still working.
So what are the options?
1. Mentions – Mentions is a new site +Derek Loranca
pointed me towards: https://en.mention.net/
. The site is more comprehensive than I need (it tracks all social mentions beyond what Google Alerts typically provides). It’s also on a “free trial” for 30 days but then you’ll likely be paying. I’m not opposed to paying for good services, I pay for Newsblur RSS, Evernote, etc, but I’m not sold on this one yet. But if you want to configure a broader mentions service that supports RSS, this could be a good bet. Mentions WILL import your existing Google Alerts.
2. Make your own email-to-RSS recipe with Internet automation services like IFTTT or Zapier. I wasn’t able to find a good recipe on IFTTT for this, and the post I found on Zapier http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/how-to-build-an-email-to-rss-notification-machine-with-zapier/
Did not do the trick for me.
3. Use an email-to-RSS provider. There are only a couple of them left now. I tried them, and I found email to RSS to be the one that was fast and reliable: http://emails2rss.appspot.com
However, there are some nuances to this personalized hack that you should pay attention to.
Here’s the best setup:
a. (optional) – you need a gmail account with plenty of filters available. My gmail account I use for alerts, newsletters and discussion forums is already using almost all the max (20) filters. So I needed to create a new gmail account which forwards all my mail. This gives me 20 new filters to work with.
b. (not optional) – I recommend a separate additional gmail account with a separate password for a couple reasons. First, emails2rss does require you to log in with your Google account, and I’m very wary of any third parties having access to my Google account. Also, the way that Google verifies email forwarding, your gmail address will be exposed publicly on your own RSS feed, at least temporarily (emails2RSS lets you clear that feed if you need to). Call this your “special alerts account.”
c. Once you have created the necessary accounts, you’ll need to start routing your alerts and forwarding them by email to your “special alerts email account.” Set up your gmail filters to forward relevant alerts to the special alerts account.
d. Within emails2rss, you log in with your special email alerts gmail account. You can now easily setup one of two things: 1. An RSS feed for all of your alerts, or 2. You can set up individual RSS feeds in emails2RSS for each of your keyword alerts. Keep in mind you will have to verify the forwarding for each additional email/RSS feed you setup, which means that setting up each one takes a bit of time.
My take is that given the effort involved here, until someone comes up with a simpler approach you would only use this hack if you have a few keywords that you really want to track via RSS. Otherwise, you can stick with email alerts from Google for now.
But, as more alerts services shut down their RSS options, variations on this hack may come in handy.
For me, I do have a few keywords I really do want to track in RSS, but more than that, I am not willing to accept the cancellation of a certain way of consuming information. I’d rather hack and do this on my own terms.
When this kind of hack works, it’s satisfying because it’s a vote for your own autonomy over what the walled garden Internet companies want us to do. And yes I now put Google in that category.