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What is Google Groups? How is it different from Usenet Newsgroups

webmaster May 27, 2020 - 6 Minutes Read

When you come across Usenet newsgroups, you will also hear about Google Groups. What is this type of communication network? Is there any difference between Google Groups and Usenet Newsgroup? Finding answers to these questions will help understand what each one has to offer.

What is Google Groups?

As the name indicates, Google, the search engine giant is the service provider that maintains Google Groups. In February 2001, this type of communication network became operational online, making it accessible to the users via a new interface.
Deja News Research Service is a Usenet newsgroup message archive. After starting in March 1995, this search engine played an essential role in shaping the online discussion. After the company shut down its service in 2001, Google acquired its archive, a database containing over 700 million messages. The information available in these networks was valuable, as they provided insight into the internet culture and history. The search engine giant moved all the assets to a new domain.

Usenet Newsgroup

A message repository of posts made by users through the internet, you can think of the Usenet newsgroup as a discussion group. With Network News Transfer Protocol (NNTP), people were able to use the internet to connect to Usenet servers for data transfer.
Every newsgroup focuses on a specific subject as this is the point of interest among its users. There are two types of Usenet newsgroup – binary and text. Servers and users use these variants to decrease network bandwidth usage.
Due to the development of Base4, yEnc, and Uuencode codecs, it was possible to transmit video and sound files by converting the data into text characters. Due to size limitations in a single post, users posted several times for large files.
However, newsreaders overcame this shortcoming by splitting large files into multiple posts. As a result, users found it easier to download the data they need depending on their requirements.

Difference between Google Groups and Usenet Groups

Majority of the Usenet newsgroup don’t have any moderator. If it does have a news server admin, this entity will be responsible for determining how long the posts will remain in the server. Known as retention time, they vary depending on the preferences of this party. Also, the admin has to approve the post for it to appear in the discussion. You will also come across Usenet newsgroup, which uses bots to perform the same function as the moderator.
On the other hand, there is always an entity that acts as the owner of the Google groups. The owner can increase the number of managers to moderate the discussion. These entities were responsible for ensuring the posts are relevant to the subject matter. They can also restrict access and remove members who are disruptive in the discussion. One major differentiator is that the owner doesn’t have to set any retention time.
You need a newsreader, special software to access Usenet groups. However, this isn’t the case with Google groups, as it is essential to have an internet connection and a web browser.
Diving deeper into the subject of Google group vs Usenet newsgroups, another differentiator is in the names. Google groups will always end with “googlegroups.com,” while Usenet groups have periods to differentiate between various parts of the discussion.
One of the Google group limitations is the change in the layout. There was a degradation in discoverability, functionality, and usability due to these moves by the company. Also, the search engine giant discontinued “Advanced Search,” in these discussions, resulting in significant Google group limitations. As a result, users were only able to find what they are looking for if they knew about the newsgroup containing the post or appropriate keywords.
Another difference in Google group vs Usenet newsgroups is in cost. If you wish to use the service from Google, it is free. There is no fee when you need to access the text-based Usenet groups. However, if you want to obtain the downloadable files or submit posts, the service provider will charge a fee.
When looking at Google group vs Usenet newsgroups, the former comes with a mailing list feature. In other words, you can provide email id, through which you can receive the posts.
Because of Google’s group limitations, there was a decline in its user base and functionality. Fortunately, you can’t say the same about the Usenet newsgroup. Even to this day, it continues to thrive as a file sharing service.

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