Sunday, October 09, 2005

Rediscovering the Usenet via Google Groups

Earlier this morning, I saw a blog entry that mentioned Google is now offering RSS feeds for Google Groups.  I immediately wondered if there was anything worthwhile to subscribe to since I believed that most people had already joined various mailing lists years ago for information related to hobbies, interests, and special products and services.

I had already joined a couple of different Google Groups several months or a couple of years ago and discovered that there was very little traffic or a reason to pay a return visit often.

The most interesting part of Google Groups is the fact that Google had acquired's archive of Usenet News postings in February 2001.

For those who may not know or remember this piece of internet history, Usenet News existed to a certain degree before mailing lists rose in popularity and were somewhat reserved for those who knew how to access the messages and threads through Usenet reader programs. 

The learning curve was not really that high, but you had to be really interested in learning the steps necessary to actually use the Usenet on a daily basis. 

Google Groups with RSS feeds makes it possible to incorporate the Usenet into your daily life or to have immediate access whenever you remember that you have another tool and resource available to find information that interests you.

Microsoft had included an usenet reader program built into the free program Outlook Express (included within Windows) many years ago and it is still available within Outlook.  I believe that Outlook Express is still the main component to access Usenet groups within Outlook though.

Most people years ago had and probably still have no clue of how to find, read, and gain access Usenet groups even though the ability is still on their desktop computers everyday.  Google Groups simply made it easier to use the Usenet groups.

Mailing lists increased so much in popularity that it was the old die-hards that would not give up using the Usenet and probably have been the same people who have continued to use Google Groups.

Usenet groups were the places where one of the earliest forms of spam was found.  I know that I contributed my share back in the days when I was still experimenting to discover what would really work online in terms of e-commerce.  The Usenet is probably the greatest reason that I receive the large amount of spam that I do (until I started using Gmail as a spam filter and my primary e-mail program).

So to avoid spam, use
Google Groups instead.

Google's acquisition of the Usenet archives also really provides a better timeline of the internet in my opinion than any other archive since it predates the world wide web as a browser and user interface for accessing information within a more graphical form.

I also read this morning that the first Usenet message was posted in 1979 while Google's archive and timeline goes back to May 11, 1981.  Check out the timeline and you will some interesting moments of history shown.  My earliest message (that is still able to be located) ever sent via the Usenet was on November 25, 1995 shortly after I founded TNL Internet Solutions on November 1, 1995.

Google started taking Deja's archive of the Usenet to another level shortly after acquiring the company.  When Google Groups was incorporated into a Google Account, it virtually eliminated any storage space requirements that would eventually tax your local computer.  In a way, keeping your favorite Usenet messages was just as important back in the day as keeping your e-mail for those of us who are digital pack-rats.

Google's way of easing the local computer's storage space requirements have been nothing short of amazing and such strategies have changed the way business is now conducted online. 

Google is essentially cataloguing the entire internet on a micro and macro level and their advertisements which appear on each page justify the costs in providing the services for free as well as for the individual in giving up the personal right or desire to have to buy more hard drive space to keep all of your data (regardless of how relevant it actually maybe).  This is why you will see more services being offered for free when you would have had to pay an individual price to stay current or keep your data in the past.

The reason that Google Groups is now important is that you can continue to find more information in a growing variety of ways than you ever could before.  Now you can even go to Google Groups and search places that you probably did not know existed before.

If the Usenet groups had successfully crossed over to join Google Groups or still exist, these groups represent some of the best places to obtain information by some of the most in-depth, knowledgeable, and fanatical users imaginable.  The people that you will find there really know their stuff!!!

I simply wish that I had a list of the Usenet groups that I had subscribed to years ago although I have found many of them where I had either posted a message to them through the search capability built into Google Groups.

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