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Google Groups Adds Mailing Lists & Other Features, Competes With Yahoo Groups

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A longer version of this story for Search Engine Watch members looks at the new mailing lists as the latest in a series of "portal" features added to make Google competitive against Yahoo and others, contains Google's view that offering lists fits in with its mission to organize information and looks at how ads will be integrated into the service.
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Google has added new mailing list creation functionality to its Google Groups service, giving it a capability that competes directly with the Yahoo Groups service.

Google Groups, launched in March 2001 after the acquisition of Deja, had been a service allowing people to search and post to Usenet discussion areas. The Google Groups 2 beta site expands this to allow people to create their own mailing list-based "groups" for free.

The beta site also enhances the ability to interact with Usenet groups. Among the new features are:

  • Ability to "star" a particular discussion, so it's easy to return and monitor changes via the new My Groups feature.
  • Ability to receive Usenet discussion posts via email.
  • Faster posting ability -- posts will appear within minutes, rather than the hours it could sometimes take, Google says.

Google Groups has always been a favorite search feature of mine to use especially when I'm seeking advice and opinions. It seems successful for this because it captures conversations and only conversations. I can always dump a cryptic Windows error code into it and find a post where someone has already asked about the problem and often gotten a solution to solve it.

Indeed, Windows guru Brian Livingston recently found the same thing -- that Google Groups outperformed general Google for computer solutions. So the Google Group enhancements serve as a good reminder to consider trying the service, if you haven't before.

It's also a good reminder to check out Yahoo Groups, at least if you are trying to find email-based interest groups. The service has run for several years and offers thousands of lists on various topics.

You can easily search to find lists that match your interests, though you can't search across posts themselves. In contrast, Google Groups will do this for the new mailing list groups it provides, assuming the list owners want posts to become searchable by the public.

Of course, Yahoo Groups is also a great place to set up a mailing list of your own. I've long used it as a means to quickly create a list to network friends or colleagues around particular topics. There's no doubt many Google users will appreciate similar functionality being offered by Google.

A longer version of this story for Search Engine Watch members looks at the new mailing lists as the latest in a series of "portal" features added to make Google competitive against Yahoo and others, contains Google's view that offering lists fits in with its mission to organize information and looks at how ads will be integrated into the service.
Click here to learn more about becoming a member

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