Cronycle freeform search: a solid Google Alerts alternative

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Cronycle Topics, automated feeds curated from expert influencers, provide a strong Google Alerts alternative. This is particularly true if you are monitoring a market, industry or trends, for your business or professional learning.

Cronycle feeds aggregate and filter content from Cronycle Topics (our automated feeds), RSS and Twitter accounts. Over a year ago, we included search results as one option when creating a feed and modifying feed sources. This freeform search result appears when there is no exact match amongst our 80k Topics, like in this example:

alternative to Google Alerts - search a term
The freeform search is shown in quotes and can be previewed and added to a feed

Our customers value this option when monitoring something specific that’s not in our list of 80k Topics, such as a specific emerging expression, a sports team or personality, a competitor, a product, or an expression in another language.

In many cases, we’ll suggest Topics that are likely relevant. They appear right underneath the freeform search result. This is very helpful to find the right search terms, at least in English.

Cronycle freeform search is an alternative to google search in a feed and shows related topics
Suggested topics related to the freeform search show up below the freeform search result

After you add a freeform search to a feed, any content mentioning the expression appears in your feed if it has been shared in the expertise network. Feeds go back to 6 months in the past.

Why use Cronycle feeds rather than Google Alerts?

Cronycle’s freeform search is a very strong alternative to Google Alerts for several reasons:

  • Google Alerts sends results to your mailbox – a black hole for most of us. Cronycle offers feeds where content can be searched and filtered; and boards where the best information can be saved, made sense of, and shared in many ways. You can do all this alone or as a team.
  • Cronycle freeform results filter out a lot of noise by focusing on content shared by our expertise network covering more than 80k Topics. This enables us to cast a very wide net while having some relevance built-in.
  • Google Alerts misses a lot of good content, for example because it was not optimized for SEO (which is not necessarily correlated to quality). Cronycle looks at the expressions in the content and titles to find results.
  • In Cronycle, you can easily combine with content coming from other sources, such as RSS, Twitter accounts, Cronycle Topics, and even newsletter subscriptions.
  • In Cronycle, you may find a very close Topic which has a community and highly relevant content.

When looking at content about farmers in Hindi, we found that our search shows significantly more results than Google Alerts (when showing all results), making it a good alternative:

किसान (“farmer” in hindi) in Google Alert gave 36 results, vs 67 in Cronycle.

google alert for "Farmer" in Hindi
Google Alert – 36 results for किसान
Cronycle freeform search, alternative to Google Alerts, with "farmer" in Hindi
Cronycle – 67 results for किसान

How does it work?

Cronycle’s freeform search is based on our technology that recognizes over 80k Topics and over 4 million influencers in our expertise network. Our automated feeds surface content shared by influencers within each topic community.

In the case of the free-form search described in this post, we show any content shared by any of these 4M+ expertise network influencers, containing the exact words you use in the search.

Cronycle feeds are not just an alternative to Google Alerts – they also help you further narrow down to what you need. For example, the freeform search may be “farmer” in Hindi like above. Once you add this search to your feed, you can add another set of keywords to include or exclude within the feed itself. You can also switch to advanced filtering to add boolean operations so you can truly get down to what you want and avoid what you don’t! Learn more about filtering feeds from this dedicated tutorial.

Cronycle feed with filters
Different crops added as keyword filters on the Farmer feed

The great things with Cronycle is that you can combine with other sources – such as RSS, Twitter and also sign up to newsletters right from your feeds. Once that’s done, the information flow is made easy for you to save good content onto boards where you can make sense of information, enrich and share.

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