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ARTICLES IN THE BOOK

  1. AdSense
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  3. Allinanchor command
  4. AutoLink
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  54. 302 Google Jacking
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  73. Google's hoaxes
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  114. Scraper site
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  119. Urchin Software Corporation
  120. Web traffic
  121. YouTube

 

 
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THE WORLD OF GOOGLE
This article is from:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Groups

All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Text_of_the_GNU_Free_Documentation_License 

Google Groups

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 

Google Groups is a free groups and mailing list service from Google. Using Google Groups, one can find groups related to their interests and participate in threaded conversations. Besides posting to the group through the Google Groups web interface, users also can post to a group by sending an e-mail to the group's e-mail address. They can also create their own groups and access Usenet newsgroups dating back to 1981.

History

In February 2001, Google acquired Deja.com, 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 was completed with 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 added several features to Google Groups. These features include an enhanced interface, profiles and rating posts.

Interface features

Groups search

Google Groups interface showing results of a search for "wikipedia"
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

Google Groups interface making use of "View titles only"
Google Groups interface making use of "View titles only"

There are two options for viewing the list of threads. "View with message text" is the default. It shows the title of a thread, the first few lines of the originating post, the author, number of messages, date and rating. The threads are sorted by the time they were created, with the newest thread going on top. "Viewing titles only" has two sub-options, "Sort by date of first message", which displays the title, rating, number of messages, author, and date the thread was created; and "Sort by date of most recent message" (see screenshot on right), which displays the title, rating, number of messages, name of last poster for each thread, and the date/time of the last post in each thread.

Posting and reading in a thread

Google Groups interface showing a message being posted
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.

Below every post, there is a "reply" link which, when clicked, opens a text box for users to quickly send replies. There is another slower method to reply, accessible through Show Options, which allows a user to quote the original post. There is another option to send an e-mail reply to the original poster, also accessible through Show Options. Replies will be displayed in the thread almost immediately, unless the group or user is moderated; in that case, the post will be sent to the moderators who will have to approve the post before it is displayed.

Users can submit posts with images and files by attaching the file to an e-mail message and sending it to the group's e-mail address. If, for example, a user does not have the rights to post to the group, or the user or group is moderated, posts sent using this method will be treated accordingly, as if they are normal 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, and is displayed next to the thread author (in View with message text mode) or thread name (in Viewing titles only mode).

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.

E-mail masking

To prevent scammers or spammers from harvesting e-mail addresses from a group, Google replaces 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 they are human, after which a page will load with the full e-mail addresses displayed.

However, when posting to a Usenet newsgroups, your email address will be visible to anybody using a Usenet newsreader to read your post. See [1].

Google Groups does not allow use of an invalid or obfuscated e-mail address (like user-at-domain.com), which you could use to prevent e-mail harvesters from retrieving your address from Usenet newgroups.

Creating 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, and 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.

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.

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. [2] 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. 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. [3]

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 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 http://groups.google.com/group/ 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 MinorsMajor, the group's URL will be http://groups.google.com/group/MinorsMajor and the e-mail address will be MinorsMajor@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.

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 http://groups.google.com/group/ followed by the group's hierarchy. For example, the Usenet group alt.games.neopets's URL is http://groups.google.com/group/alt.games.neopets.

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.[4] 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. [5]

References

  1. ^ "Google Acquires Usenet Discussion Service and Significant Assets from Deja.com", Google, 12 February 2001
  2. ^ "20 Year Archive on Google Groups", Google, 11 December 2001
  3. ^ "Full Usenet archive now available", pandia, 29 April 2001
  4. ^ "Digital history saved", BBC, 14 December 2001
  5. ^ Publisher Complains of Computer Security Text on Google Groups - Chilling Effects Clearinghouse. Retrieved on 2006-11-15.

See also

  • Yahoo! Groups
  • MSN Groups

External links

  • Google Groups
  • Google Groups (beta version)
  • Google Groups Help Center
  • Google Groups Guide - an official group where users can ask and answer questions about Google Groups.
Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Groups"