Now, search is not enough. You need service. You need the computer to help you. So Google also rolled out the Personal Agent - a small piece of software that, in essence, simply queried Google on a regular basis and sent you email when it found what you were looking for on the Semweb.
Out of town a couple days, return to find my first three webalerts in the mail... and they are all just news stories, nothing to do with the serps. I didn't sign up for news web alerts. Personally I don't see the point of web alerts to start with, but has anybody gotten them to actually send you what you want?
Just chiming in with a "me, too" -- same exact experience you both describe.
It's very poorly implemented so far. Seems to me like G is debuting new tools in the Labs much earlier in development than they used to. In the past, the Labs stuff at least appeared to work. Between this and the Personalization tool ... why let anyone use them at this point?