On June 30th custom alerts will no longer be offered by Google.  In a blog post released today, Google announced that enough people have adopted automated rules to justify discontinuing alerts.  On June 15th you will not be able to create these alerts anymore and on June 30th they will no longer appear in your account.  E-mail notifications will also cease on June 30th.

According to a close read of the language of the blog post, this is a great thing.  “Many of the actions” that people took shortly after receiving custom alerts “can now be done by creating automated rules.”   Also, they’re not canceling or murdering alerts, Google has “decided to sunset” them.  How nice.  Who doesn’t love a good sunset?

Another great thing about this change – even though your e-mail notifications are soon to be a thing of the past, Google is “actively working” toward creating an e-mail only option in their automated rules.  Eventually, you’ll be able to receive an e-mail notification when your rule requirements are met, but there won’t be any action taken.  Which, when you really think about it, is the thing that they’re getting rid of right now.  How amazing!

According to any sort of sarcasm meter you may possess, this change is lame.  I’m sure they’ll get around to figuring out that tricky e-mail notification thingy (you know, the thing that predates automated rules) once an acceptable level of users have switched their custom alerts over to automated rules, which means more immediate action on Google’s part.  Which inevitably leads down the road to higher bids, more competition and more money for Google.

Just like their mandatory update to ad rotation a few weeks ago, this is a change from Google that in effect is a forced step toward automation.  So, I hope you like Google and the things it does for your account.  It can be great.  Really great.  But it can also be terrible.

I’ve had accounts that had spotty conversion tracking, which makes custom alerts great and automated rules terrible.  That doesn’t much matter now.  We can all look forward to a new day when Google releases that great new functionality where an automated rule only generates an e-mail alert, but for now, prepare yourself to bid a tear-filled adieu to that thing that already exists: a custom e-mail alert.

Isn’t it a beautiful sunset, folks?