Google Launches Revamped E-Mail Groups

By Matthew Hicks  |  Posted 2004-12-02 Print this article Print

Following a seven-month test, Google adds the ability to create and manage e-mail lists to Google Groups.

Google Inc. turned on the switch Thursday to its new e-mail list service that combines the Usenet archive with the ability to create and manage new groups. The new Google Groups, which has been available as a Google Labs test since May, brings the search giant the type of community feature that has been a fixture for such competitors as Yahoo Inc. and Microsoft Corp.s MSN division. For its e-mail list service, Google is emphasizing its combination of user-formed groups with Usenet and its search functionality.
Not only can users search for e-mail postings within Google Groups, but they also can retrieve group postings as part of Web searches. Google Groups messages are added to Googles Web index within minutes of being posted, if a group is publicly available, said Marissa Mayer, Googles director of consumer Web products.
For Google, the e-mail lists provide an important source of Web content for searchers, such as personal reviews on products and hints on solving technical problems, Mayer said. "One thing we noticed over time is that content comes up in discussion groups that doesnt come up anywhere else," Mayer said Google acquired its Usenet archive from in 2001. Since then, it made the archive available and searchable through Google Groups, but until the test of Google Groups 2 it did not allow for the creation of new lists. Usenet includes more than 1 billion posts, according to Google. Read more here about Googles expansion of features for its Gmail beta service. During the Labs beta, users created thousands of new e-mail groups, Mayer said. She declined to provide exact numbers. Google Groups users can create public or private e-mail lists and restrict membership. Those subscribed to groups can receive messages by e-mail or view the ongoing conversations from a URL created for each group. Google Groups also provides another outlet for Googles advertising programs, which account for the bulk of its revenues. Google Groups includes both its AdWords sponsored links, which appear based on a users search, and its AdSense contextual ads, which appear based on the content of an e-mail group, Mayer said. The new Google Groups initially is available in English only, but Google is planning to create versions for other languages in coming months. Check out eWEEK.coms for more on IM and other collaboration technologies.
Matthew Hicks As an online reporter for, Matt Hicks covers the fast-changing developments in Internet technologies. His coverage includes the growing field of Web conferencing software and services. With eight years as a business and technology journalist, Matt has gained insight into the market strategies of IT vendors as well as the needs of enterprise IT managers. He joined Ziff Davis in 1999 as a staff writer for the former Strategies section of eWEEK, where he wrote in-depth features about corporate strategies for e-business and enterprise software. In 2002, he moved to the News department at the magazine as a senior writer specializing in coverage of database software and enterprise networking. Later that year Matt started a yearlong fellowship in Washington, DC, after being awarded an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellowship for Journalist. As a fellow, he spent nine months working on policy issues, including technology policy, in for a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He rejoined Ziff Davis in August 2003 as a reporter dedicated to online coverage for Along with Web conferencing, he follows search engines, Web browsers, speech technology and the Internet domain-naming system.

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