When the door was finally closed on Google Reader a couple of weeks back, we argued that it was actually opening another door for RSS innovation.
Indeed, Digg is working hard to bring its reader out of beta having already shoehorned it into its existing mobile app, AOL has launched a solid effort and Feedly — now with 12 million users — is leading a growing group of firms hoping to build their brand, user base and business following Google Reader’s closure.
But another company is now looking to capitalize on a lesser-reported aspect of its closure. Just as Google was laying the final ground-blows to Reader, it also killed off RSS feed support for Google Alerts.
For the uninitiated, Google essentially lets you set up and tailor notifications for just about any search term on the Web, it could be mentions of your name, a competitor or anything else. For each alert, you could choose to receive a notification by email or RSS – but the latter of these options is no more.
We last caught up with Mention back in March, just as it had raised $800,000 to help develop its ‘Google Alerts’-esque service for the social Web
Indeed, Mention has set out its stall to “reinvent Google Alerts” with a system that allows users to receive real-time mentions – as you’d expect – about anything online, across Windows, iOS, Android, the Web and Chrome. Though the service is largely used by companies to monitor mentions of their name, it can of course be used by anyone.
With this latest update, you’ll notice the same option to create a new alert, but now you’ll also see the option to import Google Alerts.
To do so, you’ll have to connect your Google account and export your existing alerts in CSV (ensure you save the file in the .CSV format), then import them into Mention.
You then click ‘RSS’ to get a dedicated feed link to paste into any reader service, such as Feedly.
This is where one of the drawbacks exists though. If you have hundreds of Google Alerts set up, it will take you a while to go through each feed and paste them in to your RSS reader servce.
But perhaps the broader appeal here with this new feature is less about RSS and more about finding an alternative to Google Alerts, with many users becoming disillusioned with the service in recent times.
While Google hasn’t announced it’s killing off Alerts, it wouldn’t be at all surprising if it did, certainly judging by the lack of attention it’s giving the service. By letting you import your existing Alerts, Mention is looking to tap into this growing anxiety around Google’s product.
However, one down side here is that Mention has quota restrictions in place for the free version – you get 250 mentions a month. This may be fine for some, but for many researchers, bloggers and journalists they’ll need to plump for one of the Lite, Pro or Enterprise plans, with costs rising from $6.99 through to $64.99 a month.
Today’s news seems to be a very opportunistic move from Mention, and one that makes a lot of sense. It’s capitalizing on the recent wave of attention given to RSS and concerns over Google Alerts in general, and is trying to encourage more users on board.
Mention was founded in April 2012 by CEO Edouard de La Jonquière, CTO Arnaud Le Blanc, Didier Forest, Fotolia founder Thibaud Elzière and e-founders co-founder Quentin Nickmans. Mention now lays claims to 100,000 users and a “double-digit growth” in terms of turnover.
The new Google Alerts import feature is now live on Mention.
Feature Image Credit – Thinkstock