Google Groups Usenet Enhancements Roll Out

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Google has finally given some attention to Google Groups and has given it a bit of a facelift.

Google Groups is Google’s version of USENET newsgroups which offers users a small selection of newsgroups to access. The all-text newsgroups service of Google Groups hadn’t had much attention as of late, with growing concerns from users on whether if Google had forgotten about the service which was rarely maintained.

Google has set to change that with a few adjustments that have been made to the service.

As one enhancement, Google has made it easier to search for and browse both groups and individual postings by entering a topic in a single search bar. Once users find a group they want to follow, they can now add it to a list of favorites easily accessible on the left side of the window. As a result, the overall interface has a cleaner and more streamlined look and feel.

New keyboard shortcuts offer a way to quickly cycle through the different forum threads and topics. To find a list of all the new shortcuts, users can press ? on their keyboard. Also, tapping into a new toolbar of icons, users can more easily format text and add hyperlinks and images.

Google Groups is no substitute for complete USENET access. By comparison, Google Groups only offers a variety of 25,000 text newsgroups (or less) – many of which are inactive, whereas a service such as Newsgroups offers more along the lines of 107,000+ only active newsgroups.

Additionally, Google Groups only carries a selection of text newsgroups, where as premium Usenet provider Newsgroups offers binary newsgroups as well with over 700 day retention.

The redesigned Google Groups will roll out as an option over the next week, giving users the opportunity to preview the new look and features. Google is also promising other enhancements, including better spam control, forum moderators, and improved search.

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