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Google Acquires Deja 256

Ergo2000 was the first of many to tell us that Google has acquired Deja. Or at least, whats left of it. Accoding to the announcement, they will reinstate posting, improve searching, and keep the full 500 million message archive since '95 online.
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Google Acquires Deja

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    ...are now completely without USENET. This truly sucks, to have no way to browse newsgroups by thread.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    deja and google are great and all, but i still like focused resources ie slashdot, moreover [moreover.com] amd silicongod.com [silicongod.com]
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I was using Deja this morning to catch up on newsgroups and ask some questions, and then this happens. The results you get right now are completely useless in trying to wade through them, and while Deja's old threaded interface wasn't great it was at least useable. I hope they bring back all the functionality Deja had, with accounts so you can see what you've written and gotten replies to. Right now I'll have to hunt for another web based newsgroup reader ....
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Gah. I'm not the type to flame somebody for their grammar, but good god...

    ...says the guy who says, "Gah."

  • Agreed. The new format sucks ... bad. I really really hope they restore the old threaded format. As others have mentioned, it wasn't the best or fastest way to follow a thread, but it was significantly better than the flat-mode they have now. I used to use Deja on a daily basis to get work done...now I can't. Ugh!
  • This is a great news. Dejanews was the reason I started using the web for the first time, many years ago, and remained a useful tool up until around early 1999. I hope that Google can restore them to their former glory.
  • The sponsored ads are quite obviously sponsored. Go check out this Google search on "new car" [google.com] to see what I mean. At the top is a sponsored link clearly shaded and labelled. Below starts the actual search results. This system isn't like paying Google to internally change PageRank (their ranking algorithm) to give certain pages higher weight.
  • Are they planning to restore the threaded interface?
  • "An NNTP interface. They could even sell feeds. Imagine having a feed where nothing ever expires..."

    I don't know how most of the current news clients would even handle that. Could you imagine browsing a group with a quarter of a million headers? Try changing from a threaded view to sorted by sender! Damn, my Netscape has kept track of 35,000 headers in one particular group since last year, and now takes ages to re-sort or just load its summary file.
  • Lookin' good there! I've always appreciated Google's focus on utility, and I think that Deja News was a kindred soul that got corrupted by the dark side (you know, that whole dot-com... thing.) Can't wait to see what the future brings... it's like a dream [slashdot.org] come true!
  • perhaps they will improve the daily emailing of headers.

    I would get a list of like 25 headers in a newsgroup that gets MANY more than that. It also would not let me remove myself from the list w/o a password. There has to be a better way (sending confirmation by email).

    That would rock :)
  • Do a search on Yahoo and Google and you'll see the same results.

    No, the results are quite often different. Yes, I know that Yahoo licenses Google's technology, but Google.com [google.com] still returns different (and generally better, IMHO) results.

    It is ironic that the biggest Usenet archive is now owned by a company that indexes the Web.

    Ironic in an Alanis Morissette sense, or an Oxford English Dictionary sense?
  • No, it's the feeling that you've seen this 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 ,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,0 00,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 times before. sort of like the feeling you get reading "i'm going to patent frivolous patents" posts on the patent topic, but not quite as strong.
  • You're right; by 1999 Deja's service had deteriorated to the point where I abandoned it for Remarq. Remarq had its flaws, but its interface was much easier to browse newsgroups with. But then they flaked on us, too... so it was back to Deja.

    But the "Damaged Links" you refer to are not damaged, they're stale. Deja generates URLs for their database dynamically, and after a while, they grow old and drift. I know, it's stupid. But once you realize that, you know that you can reload the forum page and then reload the thread, and all the links should work...

    Of course, all that may be moot by now.

    I can't think of a better adoptive parent for Deja's news service than Google; I think this is good news. But I'm really pissed they took down the news service - earthlink news servers went belly up (again!) last nite about 7pm, and so now I have NO USENET ACCESS. This bites. Earthlink's news service has really sucked the past few months... and now this.

  • Writing a decent interface shouldn't be a big deal, even for one single programmer. No, since it's been done a dozen times before. There's gotta be at least a dozen newsreaders out there for every platform, and they have evolved a "standard" set of functions and interfaces. This is a Good Thing(tm).

    Yet everytime someone writes a web portal to usenet, they completely ignore the work that's been done before. AOL, Deja, Remarq, WebTV... no one pays any attention to the UI and functionalities that veteran usenet rats expect. They don't bother to go look into the protocols and etiquette of the community they're writing a gateway for. And all too often, this translates into their users being pariahs... to this day, many people on Usenet don't take AOL and WebTV users seriously.

    And to make it worse, Netscape and MS write their browsers to post in HTML for chrissake... Oh... I shouldn't have even gone there... now I feel a Kinnison attack coming on... Not just in HTML, but one poorly-labeled option in Netscape makes it expectorate bothHTMLand plaintext... Ohh, Ohhhhh!

    It just drives me nuts. Google programmers - if you're lurking out there, please - pay attention to the classic newsreaders. They know what they're doing. Don't try to reinvent the wheel or add any doodads.

    We don't want fancy buttons and tricked out features

    We want to sort messages in a newsgroup by threads, see who posted the last message in a thread, and at what time.

    We want to be able to use the numeric keypad to browse through a newsgroup or thread. (For example, in Newswatcher, '5' takes you to the next screenful (or next message, if at end of message), '8' scrolls up, '2' scrolls down, '+' marks a message read, '-' marks it unread.)

    We want a key or a button that marks all messages read ("catch up").

    We want to be able to filter out (or highlight) messages based on header content and references.


    Sorry for yelling. But it is very important that Google gets this right; it may be Usenet's last chance on the web.

    Thank you for your attention.

  • Removing the sucking from the Usenet would be like playing techno on a banjo.

    Har har - that's indeed funny.

    But it's the portal that needs a suckectomy, not Usenet.

  • Of course they have a higher clickthrough and get more money for it.

    Advertizers just *love* targeting ads. They want to spent their money where they have the most selling potential.

    One way to do that is to track the customers' behavior to learn about the interests of that specific costumer.

    Or, we let the customer tell us what information they want, and we'll deliver that *and* information from independent third-party sources on the internet. They can easily do that because they already have the search engine to search for any content on the internet. It just searches their ads database too.

    That sounds like a perfectly cool business plan to me. The company keeps track of ads instead of user data. The few lines at the top of my search results don't bother me at all. If I wanted to, I could use Google as some sort of ads on request machine to get offers of whatever I want.

    Besides that, Google is the best search engine out there at the moment. And, they use Linux :-)

  • What's that watermelon doing there?

    I'll tell you later.

    (ever notice that they never did tell you? and, even better, why haven't they released it on DVD!)

  • Actually, I'm pretty sure the quote is "That's the sort of English up with which we will not put," the point being to make fun of the rule that sentences shouldn't end with prepositions.
  • The version at groups.google.com [google.com] already is up and running. It only goes back 6 months, but that's what we were getting from Deja.com for the past few months now.
  • Now I finally can reminisce by reading my old rec.arts.sf.written trolls and the beautiful flamewars that they caused (Heinlein fans tend to be a humorless bunch)

    That's not funny!!!

    [insert smiley here for the humor-impaired]

    (Actually, the most humor-impaired people I know are people who love to start/encourage arguments for the "fun" (read: "cheap ego-gratification") of it. You know, the kind of people who only laugh at their own "jokes". Boooring.)

  • I am very happy to hear this. In fact, on December 14, I sent email to Google suggesting that they get into the Usenet News searching business -- maybe even acquire Deja.com! They were obviously already thinking along the same lines since at least August 2000 when they started archiving Usenet themselves...

    Google is awesome, and this only makes them better. I even believe they have the sense to avoid the portal path that AltaVista and Deja took to their detriment...
  • Hey, cut them some slack, okay? They've got the best web search engine out there, and I'm sure they'll have the best Usenet search engine in due time. But give them some time to get it rolling!
  • Deja-ogle -- that's the service that lets you search the alt.binaries.pictures.erotica.* archives.

    Speaking of... are there any services that actually archive the binaries too? I think I remember that Deja just strips binaries. Are they preserved anywhere, or are they forever lost into the ether? (Or just backed up on tape somewhere on a shelf in a machine room never to be restored again?)

    Which brings up another point -- what about completing the archives? Are there enough backups left out there that the contents of usenet could be restored from inception on?
  • Seriously - I am.

    Somehow Google embodies the Internet as it was and somehow continues to thrive.

    viva Google!!

  • Actually I'm glad they dropped the pre-95 stuff...

    there's a quite a few posts I made from 91-94 that I would like never to be read again!
  • "Are they planning to restore the threaded interface?"

    That's what it says on their home page...

    Kevin Fox
  • Can you back that up? Privately held companies don't often release financials. If it's true, great!

    Kevin Fox
  • True, Inktomi was basically a technology, and was licensed to may companies, including HotBot (later acquired by Lycos, BTW). But AltaVista was also licensed to Yahoo, yet became a portal anyhow.

    Seems to me that if Google is buying companies like Deja, and is implementing posting and threading from their site, this becomes a destination site and not just a place to "demonstrate and test their search engine technology." I'd be surprised if Google packages threading and posting into a tack-on search product for portals like Yahoo.

    Yes, protals are dead, but so is the illusion of a banner-ad-based revenue stream. How does Google expect to show profitability? My guess it's by doing something that users will find intrusive and diversionary and a portal, or a googlfication of the concept, is a likely place to start.

    Kevin Fox
  • Just checked: seems the icky "before you buy" stuff is gone. Seems that google really has a clue: they actually managed to make the site less icky than it used to be! ;-)

    They sold it to Half.com [half.com] just after it was bought by eBay [ebay.com]. And the cosmic dance cotinues, wtih companies going supernova and recoalescing into new companies...

    Kevin Fox
  • Google's interface for web searches is _useless_ for usenet.

    Couldn't they keep the existing Deja functionality until they had something decent to offer?

    I'll actually hazard a guess here that the answer is "no". If we're talking about Deja, it looks to me like that plane was going down so fast (with both engines burning, noxious gasses filling the cockpit, etc.) that the cost-effectiveness of keeping up their web presence (which was not *that* cheap) was about zero. They knew they were going to assimilate the database, that the re-structuring required was massive, that their own current archive was possibly in better shape than the one belonging to a not-really-going-anymore concern, and that there was no point in waiting to kill off something they had no interest in supporting in the future.

    I can't believe how completely un-sympathetic to the needs of existing Deja users this sudden, and obviously not-at-all-thought-out, gutting of Deja is on the part of Google.

    I'll grant you that this sucks a bit, but I'll be willing to bet at least a little bit that the rapid crash-and-burn had at least as much to do with deja's deteriorating situation as it did with Google's arrogance/lack-of-planning/whatever. The Google press release on the Deja acquisition [google.com] basically states that they acquired all of the "significant assets" of deja.com, which is a fancy way to say that this was not a merger, but at best a firesale, and that the insignificant assets are probably stuff like your former deja account. :-(

  • Huge wet sloppy props to Google. Now if they just get a news & stock ticker, I won't have to go anywhere else (well, except /. :) )
  • ... because then your bookmarks could be called... dum dum dum "deja googled".

    Actually, that should be a new l33t term for "been there, done that" for cool stuff.
  • Dejagoo.com [dejagoo.com]
  • > it remains to be seen if Google will do something icky and commercial to avoid the same fate.

    Errhmm, Deja has already been portalized long ago. All that icky "Deja before you buy" didn't exist initially. And expert search used to be easyer to find too. And the name: back then, it used to be called dejanews, a name which actually said what it does.

    Just checked: seems the icky "before you buy" stuff is gone. Seems that google really has a clue: they actually managed to make the site less icky than it used to be! ;-)

  • No ads. Simple interface. Valuable results. No ads.

    This is so cool. Now *this* I would put some money into an electronic tip jar. Google r0x0rs.
  • Let's go a little further back to the '60s!

    How about Koo-koo-ka-joo?

    I am the walrus!

  • Usenet's utility could be multiplied by the dominant Usenet potal providing a Usenet browser with an (dis)approval radio button which caused the posting of header lines containing:

    Approval: 1


    Approval: -1

    This could later be refined with fractional values if desired, but the vast majority of Usenet's potential multiplied value could realized by just the two values (along with the absence of the header line implying no opinion rendered).

    What such an open ratings standard would generate is the evolution of intelligent filters that recognized when when a message would likely be approved by a given reader/reviwer. This would allow people to vastly increase the signal/noise ratio experienced from their perspectives (as determined by their own rendered approvals correlated with others of simpliar perspectives).

  • Let's hope Google will bring back the old features and interface :). I have no where else to go for good newsgroup search. Unless there are more that I don't know of?

  • "Note to loyal Deja users: Due to time and technical constraints, it is not feasible for Google to maintain the interface and feature-set to which you are accustomed. We have been working hard to make this beta service available while we transition to a more full-featured offering. We appreciate your understanding and patience as we add the features you expect (including posting and better browsing)." --http://groups.google.com/ [google.com]

    I wonder how long this will take! :(
  • Does the Google version have the classic Deja search engine (http://www.deja.com/home_ps.shtml [deja.com]) ??? I don't like the new search interface now. :(

    Anyone find it? Thanks!

  • ... because google already has a portal:

    Google Web Directory [google.com]

  • A portal nonetheless. Unless my definition of "portal" is misled.
  • agree with that
    It is more like:

    "google's such data acquiring's odds what think ?"
    (do omoimasuka, the subject is not even mentioned)..

    but since no one seems to be interested in the japanese language on slashdot, your karma is still at 1... :(((

  • How about if they simply brought back the existing Deja interface (which works well enough for me) until they've got an interface with equivalent functionality to replace it, instead of the shit-stupid search-mode they've bodged into place?
    How about if they got a decent interface together **before** announcing the switch?
    How about if the announced the switch **before** it happened, so I didn't find out "mid-browse"?
    All in all it's bollocks, and frankly I'd prefer *ANY* functionality to what they've ended up with!
  • I'm not counting my checkens yet. 'Stupid portalness' seems to be a disease that comes with age. AltaVista used to be pure, then went the portal route. The same goes for Lycos, Inktomi , and Infoseek.

    I don't think your concerns are warranted. Google and Inktomi unlike the others you mentioned are primarily search engine technology companies. http://www.google.com [google.com] is simply a way for Google to demonstrate and test their search engine technology. The website is not a major factor in their revenue model, licensing their technology is [google.com].

    Secondly, portals are dead and have been so for a while [techweb.com]. Besides AOL, Yahoo and MSN, nobody else is really successful as a portal. It would be extremely stupid of Google to jump on the portal bandwagon when so many people are jumping off [zdnet.com].

    Grabel's Law
  • On the one hand, google is (or at least has been so far) an excellent example of a small techie company that's grown huge and NOT lost their focus or sold out. The google home page still is ad free and fast, and their search engine is still the best going.

    That said, I agree--things really and truly suck right now. They'd better get their shit together FAST, or they'll find themselves bereft of customers.

  • Your post sounds well reasoned and carefully thought out. However, it doesn't have any basis in reality. There are still anonymous usenet services available, not to mention ways of hacking an NNTP server. Usenet is in general by FAR the most anonymous service on the net, and always has been. Web pages are less anonymous than even the old DejaNews posting service.

    Also, let's not forget the purpose of usenet (and the web for that matter)--to _publish_ information. Simple distribution can be achieved via FTP, unindexed web sites, UUCP, P2P, and even mailing CDROMs.

    This might facilitate the _re_production of child porn (although I doubt it), but even that will give the authorities more information to catch the perpetrators. I don't see that this would increase the _production_ of child porn, which is the real crime.

  • While playing with google's new usenet "interface," I keep repeating, "It's only a beta, only a beta." It's not helping much.

    My account is gone, except for email; and doesn't look like it'll be coming back. ('no new accounts will be created' sounds like posting will be explicitly anonymous.) The way search results are displayed is really bad. I can't post at all. The only stuff available is from August 2000 onwards!

    Google REALLY jumped the gun on this one. They should have announced the buyout, put some stuff up on the deja.com page, and then left well enough alone until they were ready to go 'live.' They should know better than to give us this shoddy beta WHILE ELIMINATING the old deja.

  • Like others here, I am most upset at the folks over at google.com, one moment I and reading and posting in my subscribed groups, next I am some google page telling me what they have done, and what they are gonna do.

    All I can say is they took away my freedom to post, and gave me nothing. But heck, it was free, so nothing lost, just my free business.

    As for other web based USENET posting sites, I have not found a decent free one yet.

    Going on means going far
    Going far means returning
  • DeGooJa
  • I think...
    Well keeping the messages is imporant when your looking for a peice of information about some widget, so I rejoyce in that.
  • Google is already profitable.

    Amber Yuan 2k A.D
  • AltaVista used to be pure, then went the portal route.

    AltaVista did, at one point, fall from the purer faith. But then the clean, portal-less look of Google showed them the way, and they repented with Raging Search [raging.com]. Raging is exactly the same database and search engine as AltaVista, but with a Google-esque minimalist look. I can't imagine why anyone still uses AltaVista's front door when you actually your work done going through their back service entrance.

  • Right now with the "new" google-deja, I can search a the past 6 months worth of usenet, though the newest posts I can see are about 24 hours old. I can't post, I can't access MyDeja. Help! Time to move over to MailAndNews, I guess.
  • One of these days, I should put together a "bot" from which I'd grab a bunch of postings by these sorts of folk, build a sort of "parse tree," and then run a random number generator through it to generate pseudo-postings by them...

    Let me guess, you're going to name it Mark Shaney?

  • So..... how long will the free ride last? I've read that google has a profit building model, but this [deja] is a *large* database. I don't know about comparisons between web indexing and Usenet indexing, but I'm sure Google just doubled its data storage.

    So, when does the free ride end? Drawing people to free information just to see keywords or advertisements has to give out sometime...


  • There *are* pre-1995 archives out there. For years Deja had a page up announcing that they had aquired an archive back to 1993 and it was going to be up RSN. It never happened, but hopefully Google will get that data and bring it online, if only so that I can see what a dope I was back in those days.
  • Lots of it depends on your newsfeed. My ISP has outsourced news to Supernews, and the groups I read are 90% spam free.

    This could be due to agressive cancelling/reporting, but I think it's mainly because the newbie idjots who buy things from spam just aren't on Usenet anymore, so the spammers have gone elsewhere. (Note that porn, as always, are probably the big exception to this and any rule you can devise about the Internet.)
  • First, kudos to Google. I like Google, I like Dejanews (before they went all dot-commy) and I like Yahoo. Hopefully they can mesh all three together.

    A note on searches through Google: right now everything seems quite limited. It is only searching through the past year, and even the advanced search is lacking some of strong features of the Deja engine (searches through particular dates, anyone?) Hopefully they can get both parts back up and running, because I really want to see posts prior to 1999.

    The thread system Google is incorporating though, in my mind, is much cleaner and a hell of a lot cleaner. Kudos for that too.

    And lastly, more of a dumb request than anything: if they have the full Unicode data (I don't know if Deja axed or not when they were archiving the groups originally-- they might have) can we have the browser translate the dumb picture? Yes, some of its porn, and most people would go to the site just to see that, but there's also a lot of cool anime out there that's snuck under the web's copyright radar that I'd like to see. It sucks that I have to use www.thevalkyrie.com [thevalkyrie.com] to get decent newsgroup galleries.

  • There is a fascinating article [theregister.co.uk] on the Register [theregister.co.uk] about how IBM helped out the Nazis during WWII. All of that data processing capability IBM sold to them allowed the Nazis to be far mor efficient in implementing their "final solution." Granted, it was "only" punch cardtechnology, but it still helped them tremendously.

    Now we all agree that pedophiles should be strung up by the thumbs, etc.

    But what actions should we take, or should Google take, to handle this? Or should they remain "nuetral" in all of this?

  • Also, I assume that if I proceed with the links on the google page, when I return to that google search page the adlinks will still be there. The banner idiots never understood that constantly changing the ads just screws them out of a customer.
  • but Deja's archive apparently goes back to only 1995, and that's about when the Usenet became essentially useless due to spam and poor s/n ratio.

    Er.. there are hundreds of thousands of regular netnews users out there with no trouble reading their favourite groups. Certainly, there's a lot of spam, but like most news sites, Deja applies all spam cancel messages issued. Anyone who thinks netnews is dead because of spam is kidding themselves. And the trolls are a lot more mature on netnews, as well.
  • Any pornmonger knows you don't use deja for porn. You use altavista's photo and media finder! All thumbnailed nice and neat for ya, so you don't waste time going to a site that doesn't carry your fetish :)

    http://www.altavista.com/cgi-bin/query?cn=med [altavista.com]

  • is anyone else finding it humorous that a website that reports the same stuff over and over again (hey, i'm not complaining!) is posting a story about a company whose name means "eternity" purchasing a company that means "again"? i'm just sayin'...

    My .02,

  • I cringe everytime I hear someone say that the net is a haven for pedophiles. It's a cheap way to get attention and make the anarchic parts of the net look bad and scary.

    Perhaps we should amend Godwin's law to include Pedophiles along with Nazis?
  • from the maybe-they-can-remove-the-sucking dept.

    Removing the sucking from the Usenet would be like playing techno on a banjo. I mean, come on...

    More seriously: Maybe they can make Deja suck less (or at least make it as good as it was in the beginning, even if that was only so-so), but Deja's archive apparently goes back to only 1995, and that's about when the Usenet became essentially useless due to spam and poor s/n ratio.

    Not that the s/n was ever so great...

    - B

  • And now with the prospect of being able to post these things via google, there is total anonymity (so it will be harder to catch pedophiles), and, what is just as bad (since it encourages new pedophiles), the easy access to an enormous cache of porn.

    Don't kid yourself (no pun)-- there has been anonymous remailing available for Usenet for years (the attack on the anonymous remailers is relatively recent.) Deja makes an effort to record who you are, so it's not terribly anonymous. If you want to post anonymously (which is your right, according to most courts in the land), you'll find a way to do it.

    Begin rant: And agh, I'm sick of goddamn child-porn being the number one justification for net-censorship. Yeah, I don't like the idea of guys getting off on pictures of little kids, and I think it's a great idea to go after the bastards who produce the stuff. But really, fighting a prohibition-style war on those few individuals with sick fantasy lifes is going to do a lot more harm than good. For every actual producer of child-porn snagged, hundreds of people will suffer unnecessarily: people who lose their right to anonymity and are persecuted for telling the truth about their employer, companies who try to protect their customers, innocent citizens who have their mail sniffed by Carnivore (sorry, DCS-1000SE or whatever), not to mention the thousands of people who were born with a deviant set of sexual preferences and-- thank god-- are able to confine themselves to getting their rocks off over nothing more serious than a few pictures.

    Nobody will speak out against any excess necessary to prevent the distribution of child pornography, because even taking a stand inspires many people to view you as condoning the exploitation of little kids. Witness the recent uproar over virtual child-porn-- essentially, artistic representations of fictional situations. Law enforcement officials saying "well, unless you can prove that the picture is a fake, we'll have to prosecute." When we're willing toss out the most basic legal principles, who are we serving? End rant

  • The feeling you've seen this before...

    10^100 times...

  • by volsung ( 378 ) <stan@mtrr.org> on Monday February 12, 2001 @08:11AM (#438228)
    They want Deja's archive of posts from 1995. Google has been archiving USENET since August 2000, but they can't get posts before then because no one has them saved.

    [Note: This is all in the link.]

  • by jandrese ( 485 ) <kensama@vt.edu> on Monday February 12, 2001 @08:53AM (#438229) Homepage Journal
    NOOO!!! It is only with the declining popularity of the Usenet that many of the more egregious trolls and spammers have left (freqently to Slashdot). In many groups these days, the signal to noise ratio is back up to the pre-september that never ended days, especially since your average AOL user doesn't even know newsgroups exist anymore (not with that shiny pretty web thing to play with).
    I much prefer the way Usenet is heading now, where you have to be at least a little savvy before you even find out about the Usenet.
    It is really too bad that so many people were turned off of the usenet entirely a few years ago when the S/N ratio hit rock bottom, they could really help get the Usenet back to the way it should be.

    Down that path lies madness. On the other hand, the road to hell is paved with melting snowballs.
  • by Brian Stretch ( 5304 ) on Monday February 12, 2001 @08:01AM (#438230)
  • by Booker ( 6173 ) on Monday February 12, 2001 @09:33AM (#438231) Homepage
    from http://groups.google.com/googlegroups/help.html
    It is Google's policy to respond to notices of alleged infringement that comply with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in an appropriate manner under such Act and other applicable intellectual property laws, including the removal or disabling of access to material claimed to be the subject of infringing activity. For more information, see our Terms of Service.


  • by Pig Hogger ( 10379 ) <pig DOT hogger AT gmail DOT com> on Monday February 12, 2001 @10:20AM (#438232) Journal
    [...] what do you think the odds of Google acquiring such data are?
    Gah. I'm not the type to flame somebody for their grammar, but good god... What kind of sentence is this? What you thinking were?
    That's the kind of English we will not put up with!
    - Winston Churchill


  • One of the few downsides I can think of to Deja[News] becoming groups.google.com is that all of the old links to specific messages on deja.com no longer work. (For instance, if you knew the Deja ID number of a Usenet post, you could provide a URL and link directly to it.) All internal links to deja.com now seem to point to the front page of groups.google.com.

    I guess people that practiced direct linking to Deja's archive are SOL for now -- the message ID URLs seem to be different.

    Interestingly, Google's beta help page says that they've been archiving Usenet themself since August 2000...
  • by Sloppy ( 14984 ) on Monday February 12, 2001 @08:32AM (#438234) Homepage Journal

    The way I see it, Google really only gets two major things out of this:

    1. Stuff like trademark, domain registration, existing marketshare/userbase, etc.
    2. The database (interestingly, anyone with foresight and a lot of storage, could have built up a comparable one)
    As for the software or the staff, I don't see why they would care. Everyone agrees that Dejanews has been pretty shitty to use. Writing a decent interface shouldn't be a big deal, even for one single programmer. Whatever programmers created Google, can easily handle this.

    BTW, since we're all fantasizing about Dejanews changes, you know what would be really cool? An NNTP interface. They could even sell feeds. Imagine having a feed where nothing ever expires...

  • by KFury ( 19522 ) on Monday February 12, 2001 @07:54AM (#438235) Homepage
    I'm not counting my checkens yet. 'Stupid portalness' seems to be a disease that comes with age. AltaVista used to be pure, then went the portal route. The same goes for Lycos, Inktomi, and Infoseek.

    We'll see how Google goes about creating a profit model, but I loved Deja and yet they had to downsize and eventually sell themselves out, so it remains to be seen if Google will do something icky and commercial to avoid the same fate.

    Kevin Fox
  • by fluffhead ( 32589 ) <eric,sherrill&atosorigin,com> on Monday February 12, 2001 @07:58AM (#438236) Homepage Journal

    #include "disclaim.h"
    "All the best people in life seem to like LINUX." - Steve Wozniak
  • by Kythorn ( 52358 ) on Monday February 12, 2001 @08:16AM (#438237)
    Did you even bother to read hit the link or view the press release, or were you just in a hurry to post a Catz-esque rant? I don't want to come across here as overly aggressive, but either you didn't bother to read a single thing about this topic, or you're trolling.
  • by great throwdini ( 118430 ) on Monday February 12, 2001 @08:00AM (#438238)
    Degle or Gooja?

    I was thinking more along the lines of Hfuhruhurr. Nearly as comprehensible while reasonably approximating that classic "Usenet sound".

    (Bonus points for the reference. I guess it would be topical to use Google [google.com] to seek out the answer. Hint: Uumellmahaye.)

  • by jonesvery ( 121897 ) on Monday February 12, 2001 @08:02AM (#438239) Homepage Journal
    I'm not counting my checkens yet. 'Stupid portalness' seems to be a disease that comes with age. AltaVista used to be pure, then went the portal route. The same goes for Lycos, Inktomi, and Infoseek.

    But there is reason for some optimism -- all the companies you mention went the portal route during those dark days of the late '90s when everyone on the Web suddenly wanted to be a portal-type-thing -- anyone with friends in marketing remember the brief flowering of the "vortal" idea?

    I think that we might finally be past that particular nightmarish carnival of terror.

  • by Scarblac ( 122480 ) <slashdot@gerlich.nl> on Monday February 12, 2001 @07:50AM (#438240) Homepage
    Deja is bought by someone with clue!! This makes my day. No more stupid portal stuff, but an essential resource back online. Yes!
  • by green pizza ( 159161 ) on Monday February 12, 2001 @08:35AM (#438241) Homepage
    I think it's high time we get a new web-based usenet leader, and judging from Google's beta, I don't think they're going to be it. That's not a bad thing, mind you, they're already a great web search engine. That said, I propose the following challenge:

    An opensource-based Deja-like setup funded by a single ad atop each page. I have no doubts that the slashcoders could easily set this up and perhaps some startup funding could come from Andover, if not from rich-as-all-get-out Rob Malda. Granted, it would be hard to get archives, but why not start clean? Would be bad for those wanting to search right off the bat, but time moves on fast enough. I think the community can do this! Give'er Hell, folks!
  • by TobyWong ( 168498 ) on Monday February 12, 2001 @08:38AM (#438242)
    Their goal is to turn a profit. They are not a clan of monks who roam the countryside giving backrubs and writing search engines. Money makes the world go round and if you pulled your head out of your bag of granola for a few minutes you would see this.

    p.s. evil is as evil does
  • by SnapShot ( 171582 ) on Monday February 12, 2001 @08:23AM (#438243)

    I don't know about the legal stuff, but Google has been a shining light among internet search engines.

    The don't "wrap" their page around the searched page (e.g. Ask Jeeves)

    They haven't lost their search functions amid a useless stream of portal "features" (e.g. Excite)

    They are fast, fast, fast!

    Their "I'm feeling lucky" option can sometimes introduce the user to new areas of the web that you never would have discovered on your own (and it doesn't seem to send you to pr0n sites inadvertently which is a nice feature here at work).

    They didn't buckle under to the pressure and try to manually override their site after that "GWBush is a f-ing idiot" link issue last month. Nevertheless, this type of highjacking of a search seems to be very, very rare.

    A quick test for "codewarrior" in their newsgroup search returned the first 10 of 10,000 responses in less than a second over my 36.6 connection.

    If they can incorporate Deja with this level of expertice, I will be completely impressed. I don't think I've ever said that about an web company before.

  • by pucker up ( 203124 ) on Monday February 12, 2001 @08:36AM (#438244)
    This and the AdWords program are text-based advertising that has "an average clickthrough rate 4-5 times higher than industry standard for banner ads" according to the Google advertising overview.

    I've used Google adwords since it came out and was really surprised that it actually works. For the money they charge (around $15 cpm, lower if your ad appears in the second or third slot), what is essentially "just another banner ad" has given clickthroughs of up to 8%. The industry standard, by contrast is about half of a percent.

    My guess though is that the reason adwords works is not because it's targeted or unobtrusive or any of the reasons they tout, but rather simply because it's a variation on the norm. Banner clickthrough rates were pretty good back when people were utterly fascinated by an animated gif. Then when you were able to interact with the ad people became interested again (punch the monkey, anyone?).

    Of course people quickly become desensitized to every new advertising gimmick. Google adwords will most likely go the same way.
  • by guanxi ( 216397 ) on Monday February 12, 2001 @10:51AM (#438245)
    Here's a few places to look, though I don't know how much you'll find:

    Archive for the History of Usenet Mailing list
    http://communication.ucsd.edu/bjones/Usenet.Hist /i ndex.html

    Where is the archive for newsgroup X? (an index)
    http://www.pitt.edu/~grouprev/Usenet/Archive-Lis t/ newsgroup_archives.html

    Archives of moderated newsgroups (not working when I tried):

  • by Leliel ( 249770 ) on Monday February 12, 2001 @08:18AM (#438246) Homepage Journal
    Wouldn't that be the feeling you've searched this before?
    Not to be confused with Deja-ogle, which... umm, nevermind.
  • by option8 ( 16509 ) on Monday February 12, 2001 @08:07AM (#438247) Homepage
    steve martin. man with two brains, the. 1983.

    what's my prize?
    (and no, i didn't have to look it up on google)
  • by KFury ( 19522 ) on Monday February 12, 2001 @07:57AM (#438248) Homepage
    The feeling you've seen this before...

    Kevin Fox
  • by swordgeek ( 112599 ) on Monday February 12, 2001 @08:17AM (#438249) Journal
    Deja hasn't always been a bloated "portal." When they were DejaNews, they were fairly sleek. Then after selling off their non-usenet bit to ebay, they got moderately sleek again.

    At any rate, Google has already stated they'll bring back the archives ASAP (maybe already have?). Furthermore, this wasn't a merger--it was a BUYOUT. Google owns Deja now, and they'll be able to set it up however they want.

  • by SpanishInquisition ( 127269 ) on Monday February 12, 2001 @07:52AM (#438250) Homepage Journal

    Degle or Gooja?

  • by elbuddha ( 148737 ) on Monday February 12, 2001 @08:34AM (#438251)

    Google's interface for web searches is _useless_ for usenet.

    Couldn't they keep the existing Deja functionality until they had something decent to offer? I can't believe how completely un-sympathetic to the needs of existing Deja users this sudden, and obviously not-at-all-thought-out, gutting of Deja is on the part of Google. I like Google, put they can't just shove Deja into their existing format and structure, leaving out 90% of the previous functionality, and expect everyone to just roll with it. And from what I could tell from the FAQ they have no real plans on making it any better anytime in the relatively near future. Quoting from the FAQ [google.com]...
    • So much for browsing newsgroups: Google does not currently support browsing of the newsgroup hierarchy. Look for more complete browsing support as well as other new features to be available in future versions of our newsgroup search service.
    • So much for reading new messages as they come in: The archive is currently updated once per day. There may be a delay of up to 36 hours between articles being posted to a news server and those articles being searchable within Google's newsgroup search.

    The least Google could have done is gotten their shit straight _before_ pulling this half-assed stunt.


    I guess its back to real usenet servers and clients for me. I feel sorry for those that don't have access to a real usenet server, until Google gets its act straight on this.
  • by Patrick McRotch ( 314811 ) on Monday February 12, 2001 @07:56AM (#438252) Homepage
    I'm sure most Linux users can attribute to the fact that Google and Deja are the most useful resources available to Linux users on the 'net. I, for one cannot begin to describe how helpful a Google/Linux search or a Deja usenet search was to me when I was looking for help with a more obscure function of Linux or trying to find a Linux driver for a new peripheral. Both of these sites are also an amazing resourse for Linux newbies, due to the sheer volume of information available.

    Sadly, I don't see this buyout as a Good Thing (tm) for the open source movement. In the past year or so, I have seen the quality of both Google and Deja decrease immensly. Google's deal with Yahoo has decreased the accuracy of search results, and Google's interests seem to be turning towards profit rather than accuracy. Deja has been demonstrating similar signs that they are "selling out". Linux, and open source in general is supposed to be "by the geeks, for the geeks" and with this trend towards consolidation, and corporate profiteering, I am concerned that these two once respectable sites are losing site of their once-noble goal, and becoming unable to relate to the average Linux user.

  • by King Babar ( 19862 ) on Monday February 12, 2001 @09:50AM (#438253) Homepage
    [...] what do you think the odds of Google acquiring such data are?

    Gah. I'm not the type to flame somebody for their grammar, but good god... What kind of sentence is this? What you thinking were?

    This is a question for...PSYCHOLINGUIST MAN!

    To be completely serious, this is a perfectly grammatical sentence. Indeed, I think it would make my Good Buddy Robert Kluender [ucsd.edu] beam with joy. Now, is this kind of thing a piece of cake to parse? No way: it has what we experts call an unbounded wh-dependency. Indeed, our willingness to torture^H^H^H^H^H^H^Htest undergraduates with stuff like this is why we make the big bucks.

    Now, to prove to you that this sentence is legit, consider the following:

    1. The odds of Google acquiring such data are small.
    2. I think the odds of Google acquiring such data are small.
    3. Do you think the odds of Google acquiring such data are small or large?
    4. What do you think the odds of Google acquiring such data are?

    Does this help any? Now, the real interesting question is why people would tend to say (4) above as What do you think the odds are of Google acquiring such data? But I have office hours in five minutes, so that question will have to wait for another day. ;-)

    To make this just remotely related to the topic of search engines and Usenet, I'll point out that long distance dependencies like this one are the kind of thing that can make it infuriatingly difficult to use easy cues like "lack of proximity" to decide that two search terms are truly unrelated to each other. Unfortunately, solving this one requires you to parse natural language as it is used on Usenet, which is truly a frightening thought.

  • by sconeu ( 64226 ) on Monday February 12, 2001 @07:54AM (#438254) Homepage Journal

    I remember the hue and cry when Deja announced that they were dropping the pre-95 stuff. Is there an archive of the stuff from the late 80's to 95 available, and if so, what do you think the odds of Google acquiring such data are?
  • by yerricde ( 125198 ) on Monday February 12, 2001 @07:52AM (#438255) Homepage Journal

    They don't even use advertising ontheir site?

    Yes they do, just not annoying advertising. Try typing airlines [google.com]into Google. You get two sponsored links. This and the AdWords [google.com] program are text-based advertising that has "an average clickthrough rate 4-5 times higher than industry standard for banner ads" according to the Google advertising overview [google.com].

    Like Tetris? Like drugs? Ever try combining them? [pineight.com]
  • by pallex ( 126468 ) on Monday February 12, 2001 @08:05AM (#438256)
    I like the way my password is part of the url when i log on now!
  • by Mr_Silver ( 213637 ) on Monday February 12, 2001 @07:56AM (#438257)
    Having been pipped to the post by Ergo2000:
    • 2001-02-12 16:30:09 Google acquires Deja's Usenet Service (articles,news) (rejected)
    (bah) I'd like to say that this is definately a good thing. I use Deja a lot because I don't have decent Newgroup access at work and I've found many problems with the site over the last 6 months:
    • News articles that have disappeared
    • Huge gaps in postings (often space of several months)
    • Pointless "innovations" - like that annoying product link
    • Damaged links (where you click on message 2 of a thread and end up in a totally different thread)
    • Increasingly slower site access (advert overload anyone)
    as well as the really annoying problem where once in a while all the postings go flat (rather than threaded) and it marks all the postings as new even when I read them 7 weeks ago.

    What I hope Google don't do is just rebrand it, bolt on a little bit of additional code and be done with it. I personally think it needs a good clean up with much of the crap removed.

    What I also hope is that Google do it fast, because at the moment I don't seem to be able to access anything but my my-deja email, which is only used to let me avoid the spam from the harvesters.


  • by gus goose ( 306978 ) on Monday February 12, 2001 @07:59AM (#438258) Journal
    Google is by no means an innocent and fully open engine, but they have made many quality decisions. Taking on Deja has to be considdered an overwhelming accomplishment. There is simply no way for any other party to supercede this. Essentially, Google has the Usenet Monopoly.

    What Google must now do differently is to re-create the hype that Usenet was before the fancy graphics of web pages. The only way to do this is to get more awareness out there for usenet.

    I wish them the best.

    But for now, I wish I could search usenet for perl right now, and use threads.

The wages of sin are high but you get your money's worth.