Google Groups

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Google Groups is a free service from Google where groups of people have discussions about common interests. Internet users can find discussion groups related to their interests and participate in threaded conversations, either through the Google Groups web interface, or by e-mail. They can also start new groups. [1] Google Groups also includes an archive of Usenet newsgroup postings dating back to 1981[2] and supports reading and posting to Usenet groups.[3] Users can also set up mailing list archives for e-mail lists that are hosted elsewhere.[4]

* 1 History
* 2 Kinds of groups hosted by Google
* 3 Notable interface features
* 4 Official Google Groups
* 5 Criticism
* 6 Blocking
* 7 References
* 8 See also
* 9 External links

[edit] History

In February 2001, Google acquired Deja News, which provided a search engine to access an archive of Usenet newsgroup articles.[5] Users were then able to access these Usenet newsgroups through the new Google Groups interface. By the end of 2001 the archive had been supplemented with other archived messages dating back to 11 May 1981.[6][7][8] Shortly after, Google released a new version, which allowed users to create their own (non-Usenet) groups.

In February 2006, Google modified the interface of Google Groups, adding profiles and post ratings.

[edit] Kinds of groups hosted by Google

Google provides two distinct kinds of groups: traditional Usenet groups, and non-Usenet groups that are more similar to mailing lists. The Google Groups user interface and help messages do not use a distinct name for mailing-list style groups, referring to both styles of group as "Google Groups." [1]

The two kinds of groups differ both in the technology used and how they are governed. The Google Groups user interface encourages users to create new mailing-list-style groups, but does not provide any way to create a Usenet group.

A Usenet group is decentralized and not hosted by any single organization. Many organizations other than Google allow Usenet groups to be read with newsreader software that uses the NNTP protocol. Most Usenet groups are unmoderated. Google recognizes the X-No-Archive header and archives messages containing it for only 7 days.

A regular Google Group is hosted by Google, although some may be archived elsewhere.[citation needed] These groups can be accessed using a web browser or by subscribing to receive email, but can't be accessed using a Usenet news reader. They have one or more owners who decide who is allowed to subscribe to the group and whether non-members can access the group. This form of governance is similar to that provided by many other mailing list providers.

[edit] Notable interface features

Groups search
Google Search incorporates public groups into its results. Searches return the posts which most match the search query, and if any groups match, they will be displayed at the top of the results with a link to the Google Groups directory.
Users may create public profiles which are linked from all of their posts.
Rating posts
A user can rate a post with 1 to 5 out of 5 stars. A post's rating is based on the average of all the user ratings it gets, and a thread's rating is based on the average rating of all the posts in the thread. Users may not rate their own posts.
Starring threads
Users may mark up to 200 threads as "starred" to track them centrally.
E-mail masking
To prevent scammers or spammers from harvesting e-mail addresses from a group, Google masks e-mail addresses of posters. To view the full e-mail address, a user must respond to a CAPTCHA challenge. E-mail addresses are only masked when viewing a group through the web interface. Google Groups does not allow users to obfuscate or munge their own e-mail addresses.
Group web pages
In the beta version of October 5, 2006, Google introduced group pages which can be edited by group members or group managers. Pages can link to each other and Google keeps versions of pages in a similar way to a Wiki. Group members can also discuss pages. This feature was promoted from beta status on January 24, 2007.

[edit] Official Google Groups

Google has created several official help groups for some of its services, such as Gmail. In these groups, users can ask and answer questions about the relevant Google service. Each official group has a Google representative who occasionally responds to queries. Google representatives always have a blue G symbol in their nicknames.

Some official groups include:

* Gmail Help Discussion - an official Gmail help group.
* Google Groups Guide - an official Google Groups help group.
* Blogger Help Group - an official Blogger help group.
* Google Talk Help Discuss - an official Google Talk help group.
* Google Base Help Discussion - an official Google Base help group.
* Google Page Creator Discussion Group - an official Google Page Creator help group.
* Google Web Search Help - an official Google search help group.
* Google Webmaster Help - an official help group for webmasters.
* AdWords Help - an official Google AdWords help group.
* Google Maps - an official Google Maps help group.
* Google Reader Help - an official Google Reader help group.

Google also uses Google Groups to host their Google Friends and Google Page Creator Updates mailing lists, which are announcement-only groups where only moderators can post.

[edit] Criticism

Google Groups is often accused of lacking security. Many trolls, spammers and flamers have joined Google Groups to carry out their intended purpose without being identified.[citation needed]

On 16 October 2003, John Wiley & Sons sent a letter to Google after discovering that copyrighted text from a book they published was made available for download on a Google group.[9]

[edit] Blocking

Google Groups has been blocked in Turkey on April 10, 2008 by the order of a court in western Turkey. No explanation for the blocking has been given as of April 10, 2008.[10]
Wikinews has related news:
Google Groups

[edit] References

1. ^ How do I create my own group?
2. ^ How far back does Google's Usenet archive go?
3. ^ What is a Usenet Newsgroup?
4. ^ Can I use Google Groups to archive another mailing list?
5. ^ "Google Acquires Usenet Discussion Service and Significant Assets from", Google, 12 February 2001
6. ^ "20 Year Archive on Google Groups", Google, 11 December 2001
7. ^ "Full Usenet archive now available", pandia, 29 April 2001
8. ^ "Digital history saved", BBC, 14 December 2001
9. ^ "Publisher Complains of Computer Security Text on Google Groups - Chilling Effects Clearinghouse". Retrieved on 2006-11-15.
10. ^ "Turkey bans Google Groups", Yahoo! India News, 10 April 2008

[edit] See also

* Usenet
* Yahoo! Groups
* MSN Groups

[edit] External links

* Google Groups
* Google Groups Help Center
* Google Groups Guide - an official group where users can ask and answer questions about Google Groups.

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