I mainly use Google alerts for Link alerts, to see when Google “publicly” acknowledges that they have discovered a link to a specific domain or URL. I also use web alerts to find instances of content mentioned certain phrases.
Google has now announced that they are re-naming these. So now web alerts will be everything alerts, and most likely we won’t experience any significant change in our usage and benefits from this free service.
I do think it is notable that this follows the changes to their SERPs, the pages on which valuable keyword placed results are displayed to potential customers. As SERPs become more varied, displaying “everything” results (video, blog comments, items from gmail connected users) this has got expose in greater detail the way that they connect all this recorded content together around it’s keywords, and fence off what is “of interest” for you, as the creater of the everything alert.