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4.10. Google Groups

Usenet groups, text-based discussion groups covering literally hundreds of thousands of topics, have been around since long before the World Wide Web. Deja News used to be the repository of Usenet information until it sold off its archive to Google in early 2001. Google filled it out still further and relaunched it as Google Groups ( Its search interface, shown in Figure 4-6, is rather different from the Google Web Search, as all messages are divided into groups, and the groups themselves are divided into topics called hierarchies.

Figure 4-6. The Google Groups home page

The Google Groups archive begins in 1981 and covers up to the present day. Just shy of 850 million messages are archived. As you might imagine, that's a pretty big archive, covering literally decades of discussion. Stuck in an ancient computer game? Need help with that sewing machine you bought in 1982? You might be able to find the answers here.

Google Groups also allows you to participate in Usenet discussions, handy because not all ISPs provide access to Usenet these days (and even those that do tend to limit the number of newsgroups they carry). See the Google Groups posting FAQ ( for instructions on how to post to a newsgroup. You'll have to start by locating the group to which you want to post and that means using the hierarchy.

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