Use iGoogle for competitive intelligence

iGoogle allows users to create landing pages for just about anything Google has created an app for and more.  One of the things I use it for is to quickly monitor news about competitors and clients.  And because this is Google, it’s all free.

Basic how-to:

Go to the iGoogle page and if this is your first visit to iGoogle you will see a big button that says, “Look for new stuff to add” which will take you to page full of gadgets you can easily insert into your iGoogle page.  There is also a search button that allows you to find things to add to your page.

Next, search on “alerts” and this will bring up a Google news box that you can customize and add to your page. 

Now you face a question: do you want to load all these news alerts to your one iGoogle tab or create specific tabs for specific activities?  I chose the latter approach and have created a tab called, “Top ten clients.”   To create a tab you open the down arrow to the right of your “Home” label and click on last pull down item, “add a tab.”

A box will come up and you can give this tab any name you want.  It will then save it as a link below your iGoogle home tab.  You can open this tab and start setting up custom Google news searches on your top clients.  The results will display on this page under a label for each client (you create the label) and Google news will stream its most recent news for these clients.  You can display anywhere from 1 to 9 items.  It defaults at three and I chose to see five.  I find it a lot easier to monitor news at a glance rather than have alerts come to my email where I have to open them up individually and scan through them.

Tip:  don’t just follow these instructions.  Play around with iGoogle yourself and I’ll bet you quickly will find uses that work better for you or can improve this approach.  iGoogle is not only very powerful but also lots of fun.

Remember:  I will be speaking about competitive intelligence for law firms in San Francisco tomorrow.

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2 Responses to “Use iGoogle for competitive intelligence”

  1. Chris Hote Says:

    Thanks for the trick Randy. As for using iGoogle I still get an issue with understanding which sources are feeding the news. What should I do if I wish to select some web-sources of my selection (blogs, competitor web sites, tweets) so I can avoid too much noise?

    • Randy Wilson Says:

      Good question Chris! There are a couple ways. First, Google alerts allows you choose everything or just news, blogs etc. Second, you can test out your search and perhaps qualify the companies by adding a couple search terms – the industry they serve, the type of information you are looking for (new lawsuits, for example). But the opposite of noise is missing some gems. I prefer to see everything and quickly scan to discard the irrelevant hits.

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