Google Groups

Google Groups
Enlarge picture
Google Groups screenshot

Google Groups screenshot
Developer:Google
OS:Cross-platform (web-based application)
Genre:Newsgroups
Website:[1]
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. [2] Google Groups also includes an archive of Usenet newsgroup postings dating back to 1981 [3] and supports reading and posting to Usenet groups. [4] Users can also set up mailing list archives for e-mail lists that are hosted elsewhere. [5]

History

In February 2001, Google acquired Deja News, which provided a search engine to access an archive of Usenet newsgroup articles.[1] 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.[2][3][4] 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.

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 them as Google Groups. [6]

The two kinds of groups differ both in the technology used and how they are governed.

A Usenet group is decentralized and not hosted by any single organization. Google archives messages posted to Usenet groups and provides a web interface for accessing them, but many other organizations also provide access on an equal basis. Many organizations other than Google allow Usenet groups to be read with news reader software that uses the NNTP protocol. Most Usenet groups are unmoderated, which means that nobody controls who may post to them. (See Usenet.)

A regular Google Group is hosted by Google, although some may be archived elsewhere. 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 (See Mailing list.)

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.

Interface features

Groups search

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Google Groups interface showing results of a search for "wikipedia"
Google Groups allows users to use Google Search to easily search all groups with the search box at the top. The search will 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.

There is also a feature, which searches the group in real time when writing a new message - in a box titled "Have you looked at these messages?", probably to decrease the number of threads dealing with the same topics over and over again.

Directory

Google Groups has a directory of most Google groups and Usenet groups. Some group owners have set their groups to not appear in the directory. The directory organizes groups by topic, region, language, activity level and number of members.

Profiles

Users may create public profiles which display their name, nickname, location, title, industry, website, blog and quote, as well as the most recent posts they made. Their profiles are accessible to anyone by clicking on "View Profile" beside any of their posts.

Joining/subscribing to a group

Subscribing to a group offers the following benefits:
  • The subscriber will be e-mailed posts that are posted to the group.
  • Most groups require you to subscribe to them in order to post replies, and some require you to subscribe to read the group archive.
  • The subscriber is allowed to select a Nickname which will appear beside all their posts in the group. If a user posts as a non-subscriber, their e-mail address will appear beside their posts, which invites spam.
There are four subscription options, Email, Digest Email, Abridged Email and No Email:
  • Email: Every time a post is sent to a group, it will be forwarded to the subscriber through e-mail
  • Digest Email: For every 25 posts sent to a group, the subscriber will receive an e-mail with the messages.
  • Abridged Email: A summary of activity in the group, including the number of posts and topics posted, together with a list of the most active threads, will be sent to the subscriber daily.
  • No Email: The subscriber will not receive any e-mail from the group.

Reading a group archive/list of threads

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Google Groups interface making use of "View titles only"
There are two options for viewing the list of threads: "topic list" and "topic summary". Both show the topic title, date/time, number of new messages and number of total messages. "Topic summary" also shows the first few lines of the originating post and its author, and it's the default view. "Topic list" shows the author of the last post and the number of authors who have posted in the thread.

Posting and reading in a thread

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Google Groups interface showing a message being posted
In the default view, Google Groups displays posts in a thread in pages of 25 posts each. However, in "view as tree" mode, Google Groups displays posts in pages of 10 posts each. If there are new messages in a thread since the user last checked, clicking on the thread name jumps to the first new post. Otherwise, it jumps to the last page.

Above every post is a box displaying the poster's nickname, the post's rating, the date the post was sent, and a "show options" link, which opens up options for removing the post (only if the user is the poster, a manager or owner), reporting it to Google, finding all posts by the same author, printing the post, forwarding the post to a friend, and viewing the message headers (which includes the IP-address).

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, and is displayed next to the thread author (in View with message text mode) or thread name (in Viewing titles only mode). Users may not rate their own posts.

Starring threads

In the thread list, there is a star next to every thread. Once clicked on, the star turns yellow and the thread is "starred", and it appears in the user's "My starred topics" list. A user may star up to 200 topics.

E-mail masking

To prevent scammers or spammers from harvesting e-mail addresses from a group, Google masks e-mail addresses by replacing the last three letters of a username in an e-mail address with periods. To view the full e-mail address, one has to click on the periods and enter a verification code to prove that one is human, after which a page will load with the full e-mail addresses displayed. However, e-mail addresses are only masked when viewing a group through the web interface. When viewing posts through e-mail or a Usenet newsreader, e-mail addresses are not masked. Google Groups does not allow users to obfuscate or munge their e-mail addresses.

Creating mailing-list groups

Google Groups allows users to easily create their own groups. During the creation process, the user is prompted for a group name, e-mail address, description, and access setting, and then adds or invites members to the new group.

Managing groups

A moderator (owner or manager) can edit the group's name, description and e-mail address, get a promotion box, add or remove categories to the group, modify the access settings (access of memberships, invites, archives and directory listing), modify posting and delivery settings (posting privileges and moderation, availability of replies and subject prefixes), modify related groups, and browse the membership list (invite, add, ban or unsubscribe members, make them a manager or owner, and change their delivery type).

Adding or inviting members

Members of a group with the privileges to do so can invite or add new members to the group. In the process, they will be asked to set a subscription type for the new member, and enter a welcome message. The new member will receive a notification e-mail. People who do not have a Google Account may be invited or added, but they need to create a Google Account to accept the invite and post to the group [But see [7] ].

Creating and updating group web pages

In the beta version of October 5 2006, Google announced a new web 2.0 interface and the Pages feature that is now available for all new groups. There is an AJAX wysiwyg editor to create group pages that can be edited by group members or group managers. Pages can link to each other and Google keeps versions of pages, so this feature is a sort of Wiki within the group. Comments added at bottom of pages appear also in the Discussion section of the group. This beta version was later released out of beta status on January 24, 2007.

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 green G symbol in their nicknames.

Official groups are divided into three or more subgroups. Non-official groups created by users may not be divided into subgroups, although this feature is commonly requested by users. [8] The main group shows a "viewing titles only" interface for the first few threads of each of the subgroups.

In official groups, there are only two subscrption options: "Abridged Email" and "No Email", and it is not possible for two members to have the same nickname. There is a filter which replaces any e-mail addresses posted in a message with [email address]; however, it is easy to bypass the filter by adding spaces in between, or when viewing the post, one can see it in the 'Reply with Quote' mode. The e-mail addresses of members who post in an official group are not visible to others through the "show options" or "view profile" links. Members who post to official groups have a separate profile where their e-mail address is hidden and only official groups are listed. [9]

Some official groups include: 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.

Technical

URL and e-mail address of a group

When creating a group, the owner must specify a group name which will be part of the group's URL and e-mail address. The "username" can be changed later (see Managing Groups).

The URL of a Google group is [10] followed by the group's name.

The e-mail address of a Google group is the group's name followed by @googlegroups.com

For example, if the group's name is XYZ, the group's URL will be [11] and the e-mail address will be xyz@googlegroups.com

Google Groups vs. Usenet

Google Groups provides access to Usenet newsgroups as well. When AOL discontinued access to Usenet, it recommended Google Groups instead.[5]

Google Groups honors the "X-No-Archive: Yes" header field, and removes messages with it (in the message header or as first line of the message body) from its archive after 7 days.

The URL for accessing Usenet newsgroups through Google Groups is [12] followed by the group's hierarchy. For example, the Usenet group alt.games.neopets's URL is [13]

With some tricks, Google Groups can search related newsgroups for a given topic, an example is the shorthand (redirect) for searches in net-abuse groups:
http://purl.net/net/abuse/topic
http://purl.net/net/abuse/google

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. There are cases of people who join groups, request managerial privileges, and then delete the entire group before moving on to another group.[14] The recent introduction of profiles is evidently intended to deal with this problem.

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.[6]

References

See also

External links

Software development is the translation of a user need or marketing goal into a software product.[1][2] Software development is sometimes understood to encompass the processes of software engineering combined with the research and goals of software marketing
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Google Inc.

Public (NASDAQ:  GOOG ), (LSE:  GGEA )
Founded Menlo Park, California (September 7 1998[1])
Headquarters Mountain View, California, USA

Key people Eric E.
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Cross-platform is a term which can refer to computer programs, operating systems, computer languages, programming languages, or other computer software and their implementations which can be made to work on multiple computer platforms.
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Computer software can be organized into categories based on common function, type, or field of use. A list follows of common software categories.

Categories of software

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A newsgroup is a repository usually within the Usenet system, for messages posted from many users at different locations. The term is somewhat confusing, because it is usually a discussion group.
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A website (alternatively, Web site or web site) is a collection of Web pages, images, videos or other digital assets that is hosted on one or several Web server(s), usually accessible via the Internet, cell phone or a LAN.
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Google Inc.

Public (NASDAQ:  GOOG ), (LSE:  GGEA )
Founded Menlo Park, California (September 7 1998[1])
Headquarters Mountain View, California, USA

Key people Eric E.
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A threaded discussion is an electronic discussion (such as one via e-mail, e-mail list, bulletin board, newsgroup, or Internet forum) in which the software aids the user by visually grouping messages. Messages are usually grouped visually in a hierarchy by topic.
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Maintainer: Tim Berners-Lee for CERN

OS: NeXTSTEP

Use: Web browser
License: Public domain
Website: www.w3.org/.../WorldWideWeb.html
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E-mail (short for electronic mail; often also abbreviated as e-mail, email or simply mail) is a store and forward method of composing, sending, storing, and receiving messages over electronic communication systems.
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Usenet (USEr NETwork) is a global, decentralized, distributed Internet discussion system that evolved from a general purpose UUCP architecture of the same name. It was conceived by Duke University graduate students Tom Truscott and Jim Ellis in 1979.
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A newsgroup is a repository usually within the Usenet system, for messages posted from many users at different locations. The term is somewhat confusing, because it is usually a discussion group.
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19th century - 20th century - 21st century
1950s  1960s  1970s  - 1980s -  1990s  2000s  2010s
1978 1979 1980 - 1981 - 1982 1983 1984

Year 1981 (MCMLXXXI
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21st century - 22nd century
1970s  1980s  1990s  - 2000s -  2010s  2020s  2030s
1998 1999 2000 - 2001 - 2002 2003 2004

2001 by topic:
News by month
Jan - Feb - Mar - Apr - May - Jun
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The Deja News Research Service was an archive of messages posted to Usenet discussion groups, started in 1995 by Steve Madere in Austin, Texas. Its powerful search engine capabilities won the service acclaim, generated controversy, and significantly changed the perceived nature of
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search engine is an information retrieval system designed to help find information stored on a computer system. Search engines help to minimize the time required to find information and the amount of information which must be consulted, akin to other techniques for managing
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21st century - 22nd century
1970s  1980s  1990s  - 2000s -  2010s  2020s  2030s
1998 1999 2000 - 2001 - 2002 2003 2004

2001 by topic:
News by month
Jan - Feb - Mar - Apr - May - Jun
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May 11 is the 1st day of the year (2nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 0 days remaining.

Events

  • 330 - Byzantium is renamed Nova Roma

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19th century - 20th century - 21st century
1950s  1960s  1970s  - 1980s -  1990s  2000s  2010s
1978 1979 1980 - 1981 - 1982 1983 1984

Year 1981 (MCMLXXXI
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configuration files, or config files, are used to configure the initial settings for some computer programs. They are used for user applications, server processes and operating system settings.
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Usenet (USEr NETwork) is a global, decentralized, distributed Internet discussion system that evolved from a general purpose UUCP architecture of the same name. It was conceived by Duke University graduate students Tom Truscott and Jim Ellis in 1979.
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mailing list is a collection of names and addresses used by an individual or an organization to send material to multiple recipients. The term is often extended to include the people subscribed to such a list, so the group of subscribers is referred to as "the mailing list", or
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Google is owned by Google, Inc. whose mission statement is to "organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful". The largest search engine on the web, Google receives several hundred million queries each day through its various services.
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The word directory is used in computing and telephony meaning a repository or database of information. A directory, as opposed to a conventional database, is heavily optimized for reading, with the assumption that data updates are very rare compared to data reads.
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Region is a geographical term that is used in various ways among the different branches of geography. In general, region medium-scale area of land or water, smaller than the whole areas of interest (which could be, for example, the world, a nation, a river basin, mountain range,
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A language is a system of symbols and the rules used to manipulate them. Language can also refer to the use of such systems as a general phenomenon.
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E-mail spam, also known as bulk e-mail or junk e-mail is a subset of spam that involves sending nearly identical messages to numerous recipients by e-mail. A common synonym for spam is unsolicited bulk e-mail (UBE).
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Spamming is the abuse of electronic messaging systems to indiscriminately send unsolicited bulk messages. While the most widely recognized form of spam is e-mail spam, the term is applied to similar abuses in other media: instant messaging spam, Usenet newsgroup spam, Web search
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