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Google Groups Beta
Looks good from here.
synergy




msg:199641
 7:22 am on Dec 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

[groups-beta.google.com...]

 

ciml




msg:199642
 3:01 pm on Dec 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

And the press release from our very own insider:
[webmasterworld.com...]

willybfriendly




msg:199643
 3:21 pm on Dec 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

I have quickly scanned the FAQ's and don't see the answer to this...

Is Google taking over Usenet?

RFranzen




msg:199644
 3:58 pm on Dec 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

Willy,

No. No one can "take over" UseNet. It is a co-operative service offered by thousands of independent servers throughout the world. I believe it enjoys "common carrier" status in the USA, meaning server operators are not legally responsible for content, just as phone companies are not responsible for what people say on the telephone. This makes it one of the most open vanguards of free speech.

Google archives usenet posts, makes them searchable, and provides a web-based interface. For very obvious legal reasons (and just plain good taste), they don't archive binaries, including pictures. You still need your news-reader software to access those.

I don't believe Google can be considered a common carrier, and its archive is susceptible to censorship. The act of adding targeted adverts can be considered an editorial function -- to offer a targeted ad obviously means you have awarenenss what is there. As I understand it, any editing of content, no matter how benign, opens the operator to all sorts of constraints a common carrier need not worry about.

-- Rich

ownerrim




msg:199645
 4:30 pm on Dec 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

Have I missed something? The usenet forums have been accessible with the address www.groups.google.com for over a year

willybfriendly




msg:199646
 4:37 pm on Dec 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

I understand what usenet is. One of the functions of the "new" Google Groups appears to be "start a new group". This strikes me as a cheap way to exploit usenet in order to compete with Yahoo Groups and MSN Communities.

Usenet was rather like the Old West of the web. It remained relatively unknown and was not frequented by the uninitiated.

Deja provided a useful service archiving all that information. I suppose this was predictable when G bought them out. Too bad...

Should be interesting to see how copyright issues are resolved. Yes, there are many mirrors of usenet groups out there, but this move on G's part looks like a wholesale takeover. Milliions of pages of free content, and more generated every day. I wonder if I will get a share of G's ad revenues for each usenet post I make that generates clicks.

I am uncomfortable with corporate America taking over a shared community for their own advantage, and that is what it looks like G is doing here.

WBF



continued:
[webmasterworld.com...]

pmkpmk




msg:199647
 4:53 pm on Dec 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

@willybfriendly

Does Google want to take over Usenet? Does Yahoo want to take over Usenet with their Yahoo communities? Does MSN want to take over Usenet with the MSN communities? Does Webmaster World want to take over (a branch of) Usenet?

I'm "on the Usenet" since 1989, but I gave up several years ago. Spam-ridden, flamewar contaminated, virus/trojan filled newsgroups suffering under their own weight. Information content floating towards Zero in many, many newsgroups.

I found my sanctuary in Yahoo groups - and in specialty forums like WW. Admittedly, not as broad as Usenet, but for many topics there is one or more Yahoo group. Sure, some are Spam-ridden too, but all in all it's better than Usenet.

So I congratulate Google on their move, hoping they can pull it off and reach critical mass! Usenet was fun from '89 to ~ '96/97, but it has crossed its zenith and is rapidly steering towards oblivion. Bye, and thanks for the fish.

P.S. Well, maybe MSN does want to do it :-)

RFranzen




msg:199648
 5:19 pm on Dec 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

WBF,

I am uncomfortable with corporate America taking over a shared community for their own advantage, and that is what it looks like G is doing here.

The commercialization is a minor irritant, but IMO it does not outweigh the service offered. IMO, 15% of the entire intellectual value of the internet is contained within the UseNet archive. If Google can make some money off that, seeing non-distracting targeted ads is a very, very, cheap price to pay.

Just out of curiousity, why is it ok for Webmasterworld to try to make a bit of money from your posts here, but not Google from your usenet posts?

-- Rich

willybfriendly




msg:199649
 6:42 pm on Dec 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

pmkpmk - Yahoo Groups and MSN Communities have no affiliation with usenet, so I fail to grasp your point. They were commercialized from the start.

usenet has a long (and sometimes checkered) history. alt. groups arose, at least in part, because of the usenet participants that wanted to maintain independence from bureaucracies. usenet is one of the more untamed areas of hyperspace.

BB's like Webamster World began as private ventures and were built by the hard work and captial of their owners. That is distinctly different than the usenet community, at least in my mind.

If you frequent usenet, it is not uncommon to hear complaints about the mirrors of usenet groups that exists on the www. The usenet community is an independent lot.

The romantic in me just hates to see this last frontier, with 25 years of history, taken over by G. "Taken over," you might ask. Where G used to simply archive this material, it looks now like a move to full commercialization of it, and that in my mind is taking it over.

WBF

RFranzen




msg:199650
 9:41 pm on Dec 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

WBF,

We disagree (and that's ok :) ). Did the commercial Red Hat product take over Linux? Just because someone commercializes a freely available resource doesn't mean the raw resource ceases to be available and valuable on its own merit.

IMO, Google has enhanced the UseNet greatly, not detracted from it. An indexed, searchable database of a billion+ posts is pretty darn cool, and immensely useful -- even if it has inobtrusive ads. (Of course, the government could take it over, and we could pay for it with tax dollars.)

-- Rich

snort




msg:199651
 10:14 pm on Dec 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

I got nothing but server errors when I tried the new Groups a few hours ago. Now it looks like they've gone back to the old groups. Must be egg on someone's face at Google.

And you thought the MSN beta search launch was bad.

pmkpmk




msg:199652
 8:23 am on Dec 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

Yahoo Groups and MSN Communities have no affiliation with usenet, so I fail to grasp your point

What I was referring too was the ADDITIONAL groups/communities Google seems to offer. Either I have misunderstood it completely, or it is the same approach Yahoo Groups and MSN Communities have taken.

As for web-based forums like WW: if WW would not have been founded in the first place, a lot of its members would have participiated in Usenet forums (very much like I did before I found out about WW). Since WW seems to be the better controlled, more focused place, I almost solely rely on WW (and a few other web based forums), and NOT anymore on Usenet.

willybfriendly




msg:199653
 6:51 pm on Dec 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

>What I was referring too was the ADDITIONAL groups/communities Google seems to offer.<

It appears to me that G is simply providing an interface from WWW to usenet, and that the ADDITIONAL groups will simply be additional usenet groups.

WBF

pmkpmk




msg:199654
 9:14 pm on Dec 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

No, I'm right.

Look as a random example at [groups-beta.google.com...]

What you see is Usenet-Hierarchies above, but below the seperating line is what seems to me to be Google's own NON-USENET groups/communities - very much like MSN or Yahoo.

anallawalla




msg:199655
 12:40 pm on Dec 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

Usenet is simply the Big 8 hierarchies such as comp. rec. soc. etc and not the alt. and private ones such as microsoft. symantec. google. etc. Newsnet is the term used to refer to all these hierarchies but I don't think the usage is widespread or accurate.

So, if Google is inviting people to create new newsgroups, it does not impinge on Usenet proper, which has stringent rules. Private hierarchies can be created at will, but their propagation tends to be deliberately or causally limited.

ronin




msg:199656
 4:23 pm on Dec 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

So, can someone clear this up?

The new groups that can be created through Google Groups 2... do they actually become Usenet/Newsnet groups accessible through a non-web usenet interface?

Or are they just "Google Groups" in the same manner as Yahoo Groups?

pmkpmk




msg:199657
 7:22 pm on Dec 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

OK, I created a testgroup :-)) (http://groups-beta.google.com/group/test42test). Seems the very same principle like Yahoo Groups and MSN Communities.

Tried nntp://news.google.com and nntp://groups-beta.google.com but got no answer (not even a 'declined') from both.

So I guess it's up to GoogleGuy to lift the veil on our questions?!

P.S. Nice touch - a group automatically creates an atom-feed...

Nikke




msg:199658
 7:32 pm on Dec 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

As a GMail user (who clicked remember me for two weeks) you are automagically recognized.

Haven't used Google Groups much (except for searching obscure historic usenet discussions), and can't really see why I should start now.

plumsauce




msg:199659
 9:07 am on Dec 7, 2004 (gmt 0)


IMO, Google has enhanced the UseNet greatly, not detracted from it. An indexed, searchable database of a billion+ posts is pretty darn cool, and immensely useful -- even if it has inobtrusive ads. (Of course, the government could take it over, and we could pay for it with tax dollars.)

No.

They *bought* the technology and the original archive from deja.com, no innovation here.

It was fine when it was deja, acceptable in its second incarnation, and sucks the big one in the present form.

RonPK




msg:199660
 3:15 pm on Dec 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

I'm not very happy with the use of non-fixed-width fonts in the new display of Usenet postings.

  • It's no good for legibility, especially regarding postings in groups about coding (and there are many). Just have a look at the coding forums here at WW, and you'll see that monospaced pieces of code are much easier to read.
  • It ruins ASCII art often used in sigs
  • It makes it impossible to 'draw' tables using whitespaces, which can be handy f.i. when describing a page layout

    So I filled out the feedback form and got an auto reply. I sincerely hope Google really read all the mail they get, and that they really use feedback provided by users. Otherwise the Usenet community would IMHO no longer have a usable archive.

  • RFranzen




    msg:199661
     5:50 pm on Dec 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

    plumsauce,

    I know they bought deja.com. I'm willing to bet, though, that any search algorithms deja had have been fully revamped. Google also made a concerted effort, not fully realized, to complete the missing posts from the usenet that, for whatever reason, deja had missed.

    I'm not saying Google's current implementation is perfect. RonPK's point about proportional fonts is one example of where they fall short. My point is that it is immensely useful, not that I would want it to replace usenet.

    Do you remember the last-gasp days of deja.com? The company was obviously trying to find ways to make money, and the result was an obnoxiously commercial implementation with left and right side-bars, and the "meat" narrowly crammed between. I'm not criticising them, but it is worth pointing out that they had problems too.

    -- Rich

    RonPK




    msg:199662
     9:30 am on Dec 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

    Addendum to my previous post: all newsgroups in comp.lang.* are displayed with a non-proportional font. However, many other groups about programming and coding are not, such as alt.html and alt.php. IMHO G should leave such decisions to the user, or follow long-standing Usenet practices.

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