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Google Revises Usenet Search 628

Posted by michael
from the what's-usenet? dept.
michaelmalak writes "Wednesday night, Google Groups announced in a thread the rollout of their revised 20-year Usenet archive search engine. Among the various 'improvements': ability to search by date has been eliminated, as has the ability to deep link to a single post. See the announcement thread for others' reaction." An anonymous reader writes "ZDNet has published some interesting insights into what makes Google tick. In this lengthy article, Google's vice-president of engineering, Urs Hölzle delves into the nuts and bolts behind Google's operations, what back-up mechanisms and hardware setup is in place and even some interesting homegrown technology like the Google File System (GFS)."
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Google Revises Usenet Search

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  • Progress? (Score:5, Funny)

    by danielrm26 (567852) * on Thursday December 02, 2004 @10:10AM (#10974240) Homepage
    Among the various 'improvements': ability to search by date has been eliminated, as has the ability to deep link to a single post.

    Well damn - I hope they don't "improve" it too much more.
    • Re:Progress? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by BinBoy (164798)
      This is truly evil. Everyone make noise about this so we can get date range searches back!
      • Re:Progress? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Mondoz (672060) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @10:43AM (#10974634)
        http://groups-beta.google.com/support/bin/request. py

        This is the feature request/bug reporting form.
        They claim to read every mail generated by this link.

        I just submitted a question about this.
        I wonder what they'd do if the full power of the /. was brought to bear upon this subject...
        • Re:Progress? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by chrish (4714) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @11:58AM (#10975473) Homepage
          I used this to bitch about the non-standard HTML coming out of their site, and an actual human responded a few days after an auto-responder did.

          Of course, their HTML still doesn't validate [w3.org]...
          • Re:Progress? (Score:5, Interesting)

            by forrestt (267374) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @12:19PM (#10975699) Homepage Journal
            Well, there might be a more practical reason than they simply don't care about standard HTML. It appears the main problem is they don't tell the doctype. That would take them an extra 118 bytes PER REQUEST to include the type. That means, according to the 1000 requests per second mentioned in the article, they are saving 115Kbps in transfer rates by not including the doctype. It doesn't seem like much, but it is the same thing that got airlines to stop serving food. And this is just the Doctype. I'm sure they cut bites out wherever they can.
            • Re:Progress? (Score:5, Interesting)

              by NormalVisual (565491) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @01:02PM (#10976137)
              I can see the practical side of this, but this is effectively saying "we're too cheap to implement the standard properly, so we're going to play fast and loose with it to save some money". Microsoft gets hammered for this kind of stuff (rightly, IMHO), so why not Google?
              • Re:Progress? (Score:4, Insightful)

                by nyteroot (311287) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @01:19PM (#10976297)
                .. Microsoft gets hammered for this kind of stuff ..

                Er, well, not quite; Microsoft gets hammered much more for "embracing and extending" standards and then preventing other implementations from using those "extensions" thereby forcing everyone who wants to be compatible with Microsoft to use Microsoft products. Google not including the doctype , on the other hand, is fairly innocuous, its not like IE or Firefox have issues with it.
    • We are altering the deal.

      Pray we don't alter it any further.

    • Re:Progress? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by otisaardvark (587437)
      An ideal opportunity for Yahoo, Teoma (or even MSN) to launch their own USENET archive. This shows how a Google monopoly will result in just as much stupidity as an MS one. If others can win over the early adopters, they have a good chance of getting extra market share for their other search functions too.
      • Re:Progress? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by wo1verin3 (473094)
        The problem with that is google owns the dejanews archive.... while people will start a flame war about 'ownership' of public messages and how no one OWNS usenet.. I can't see any compelling argument that Yahoo or anyone else could make to force Google to share.
    • Re:Progress? (Score:3, Insightful)

      Yes, I remember seeing a link to the "new, improved" Google Groups Beta a few months ago when I was using the standard version. I tried it out because it was something new from Google, and I thought it would be outstanding. But I agree, the improvements really seem to be steps back, and I immediatly went back to using the old groups.google.com. I really hope all of the negative comments in the Google thread help them understand their users want these old futures, and even if they want to keep the new int
    • by C10H14N2 (640033)
      ...well, they do appear to think that the only pr0n anyone will want is in:

      alt.binaries.pictures.erotica.female.genitalia.l ar ge

      bastards.
    • Re:Progress? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Eil (82413) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @01:29PM (#10976388) Homepage Journal

      Alright people, you can stop overreacting. They just rearranged some things, that's all.

      There's a link at the top of the thread to turn on the left-hand tree frame.

      Deep-linking to a single post [google.com] is still very much possible.

      And I highly doubt that a search-by-date feature is going to go missing for long in a 20-year archive. This is, after all, a BETA.

      As per usual, Slashdot editors didn't even think it worth their time to follow a single link to see if the submitter wasn't trolling.
  • WTF? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by suso (153703)
    ability to search by date has been eliminated, as has the ability to deep link to a single post.

    What the hell? That was probably two of the most useful features.

    Damn you google!
    • That was the two most useful features, after "Search". Boo. :(
    • Re:WTF? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Eric Giguere (42863) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @10:18AM (#10974328) Homepage Journal

      Well, I supposed it makes it easier to hide the stupid things some of us may have posted (especially in university) to Usenet back in the 80s and early 90s. Mind you, those "features" allowed me to resurrect some semi-useful postings I had made:

      Reading C Declarations: A Guide for the Mystified [ericgiguere.com]

      The ANSI Standard: A Summary for the C Programmer [ericgiguere.com]

      Eric
      • Usenet anonymity (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Dogtanian (588974)
        Well, I supposed it makes it easier to hide the stupid things some of us may have posted (especially in university) to Usenet back in the 80s and early 90s.

        Amen... I posted some stuff to Usenet in the early to mid 90s that, given the choice, I'd rather weren't around today. Mainly due to their naive and juvenile nature...

        Problem with Usenet nowadays is you *know* it will be archived, and for that reason I use it much less (also because of the worse signal:noise ratio). When I do, it's never under my r
    • by RealProgrammer (723725) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @10:22AM (#10974373) Homepage Journal
      Absolutely. With so much spam and repetitive information on Usenet, I've always limited my searches by date.

      And linking to a single post is the whole point. I know it costs money to keep that stuff online, but surely they could find a way to put ads on deeplinked posts.

      Google just used up all its goodwill with me.
    • Re:WTF? (Score:4, Informative)

      by shird (566377) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @10:28AM (#10974464) Homepage Journal
      It seems its still possible to sort by date. So instead of limiting your search to a date range, just sort by date then clicky-click the "o"s until you find the range you want.

      Of course, it makes it difficult to sort by relevance *within* a date range.
      • are you sure? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by MarcoAtWork (28889) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @10:36AM (#10974559)
        if you get a lot of hits even if you do this you won't be able to go too far before google will complain: it's not very hard to get lots of hits on broad queries even if you limit by group.

        Also now you wouldn't be able to do things like, for example, if you were interested in it for historical reasons, searching posts on Freddie Mercury's (or Ayrton Senna's) death for the month after it happened.

        Not to mention that when you sort by date things are not sorted by relevance at all, which means you likely will get A LOT more crap you have to wade through: limiting by date means that you can ignore time periods you're not interested in *AND* still sort by relevance.
    • by suso (153703) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @11:02AM (#10974882) Homepage Journal
      Appearently the onslaught of 100,000 whiny geeks has caused them to rethink their changes. For a while the www.google.com page was linking to the new google groups beta. But now it is linking to the old google groups interface. This is at 16:05 GMT.
    • by Ivan Todoroski (132826) <grnch@gmx.net> on Thursday December 02, 2004 @11:05AM (#10974911)
      Who was the idiot that started this rumor?

      Each message in a thread has a named HTML anchor, try this [google.com] for instance. It will show the whole thread, but position you at an exact message in the middle.

      The only problem is there is no easy way to get this URL, you have to find the anchor by looking at the HTML source (Firefox's "View Selection Source" feature helps a lot).

      Also, if you click on the "Options" link by the individual message, you get a "Show original" link, which shows just the message, verbatim [google.com].

      And from there, you can click on "View parsed", and see just the pretty message [google.com], without the rest of the thread.

      So there's your deep-linking. I agree it's not obvious how to do it at the moment, but the ability is obviously still there. Give it some time, it's still a beta!

      These quirks and the "Server Error" bugs are to be expected, they'll work it out.

      As for the new browsing interface itself, I kinda like it. It integrates and borrows some stuff from their excellent Gmail interface.

      It hides quoted text by default (you can expand it with single click), so you don't have to scroll through some morons quoting of a whole message just to add a few words, it keeps a history of groups you recently visited, it allows you to bookmark topics you are interested in, etc. I do find it an improvement over the old interface.

      The only thing is the missing date search, I agree there, that was definitely useful feature. If enough people complain, maybe they'll bring it back.

      Also, someone else complained that you cannot browse by group anymore... bullshit, it's staring you right in the face, it's the "Browse all of Usenet" link.
      • by HTH NE1 (675604) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @11:47AM (#10975372)
        Each message in a thread has a named HTML anchor, try this [google.com] for instance. It will show the whole thread, but position you at an exact message in the middle.

        The only problem is there is no easy way to get this URL, you have to find the anchor by looking at the HTML source (Firefox's "View Selection Source" feature helps a lot).

        I put this in my userContent.css file (the client-side stylesheet) in Mozilla:
        /* Show named anchors */
        a[name]:before { content: "[#" attr(name) "] "; }
        a[name] { border: 1px solid #ddd; }
        Any anchor that has a name attribute will disclose that attribute on the page. The file is in your ~/.mozilla//*/chrome/ folder, unless you use Windows where I don't know its location offhand. You may have to create it. (Your browser will need to be restarted for this change to take effect.)

        It likely works for Firefox too.
    • Re:WTF? (Score:3, Insightful)

      Don't worry, I suspect they'll be back in the new Google Double Plus Good version, which you'll only have to pay a small monthly fee to join.

      The bastards.

  • hmmmm (Score:5, Funny)

    by meatspray (59961) * on Thursday December 02, 2004 @10:14AM (#10974267) Homepage
    "Spelling: Google wrote its own spell checker, and maintains that nobody know as many spelling errors as it does. The amount of computing power available at the company means it can afford to begin teaching the system which words are related -- for instance "Imperial", "College" and "London". It's a job that many CPU years, and which would not have been possible without these thousands of machines. "When you have tons of data and tons of computation you can make things work that don't work on smaller systems," said Hölzle. One goal of the company now is to develop a better conceptual understanding of text, to get from the text string to a concept. "

    Next up: Grammar and Content
  • For all the years of good service we've had from google, who are we to question the removal of features? What the bearded terminal hackers at Google giveth, the bearded terminal hackers at Google may taketh away. Certainly, if we can embrace their advertising as the GNU/Linux community has done en-masse, we can understand that they have their reasons for these changes.

    Perhaps you'd like to start your own archive of the USENET message boards?

    • by dave-tx (684169) <df19808+slashdot AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday December 02, 2004 @10:18AM (#10974327)
      who are we to question the removal of features?

      We're the users. That's our right as users. If nobody questions the decision to remove features, then how does Google know what features we liked?

      There's absolutely nothing wrong with constructive criticism, even with respect to a "free" service.

    • For all the years of good service we've had from google, who are we to question the removal of features?

      We are their customers, their clients and their users. Without us, they're nothing.

    • Respect is earned (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @10:22AM (#10974365)
      For all the years of good service we've had from google, who are we to question the removal of features?

      Excuse me, but their Google Groups feature is based entirely on profiting from others' work (and copyrighted work at that). If you're providing a properly searchable index, you might (might) have a public interest defence to the copyright infringement. If you're providing a useful service, most people might (might) not mind you using their work. But if you're going to take away useful searching facilities and provide a service that doesn't even allow proper citation (i.e., deep-linking to a specific post), you're going to be both unpopular and almost certainly breaking the law. I don't know about you, but personally I don't have much respect for people who are either of those things.

    • by suso (153703) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @10:24AM (#10974398) Homepage Journal
      A little respect? Hah, unless they put these two features back within a week, they will cease to have any respect from me. I think I can safely cross Google off my "cool geeky things" list.

      I'm not sure what motivated such changes, but usually you don't remove enhancesments to software unless they are causing major problems or if they somehow affect your financial bottom line. Somehow I think its related to the latter of the two because I don't see how the former would case problems.

      You don't do something like collect nearly all the usenet postings ever made, make it searchable by date and then take it away. Basically people have lost the ability to do historical internet research using google groups. Sort by date is not even close to the same.
    • For all the years of good service we've had from google, who are we to question the removal of features?

      Their bread and butter? Without us (the millions of people who use google rather than a competitor) they don't have a business.

      I read your post and thought I could detect a tongue firmly in cheeck. I don't know what is more disturbing .... the +2 insightful moderation or the notion that your comment implying that intelligent people should essentially bend over for their "superiors" and accept whateve
    • by mcc (14761)
      For all the years of good service we've had from google, who are we to question the removal of features?

      Uh, we're the people who pay google's paychecks?

      Who is Google to question what its users want?

      Perhaps you'd like to start your own archive of the USENET message boards?

      Considering Google bought up all the significant USENET archives in existence, wouldn't that be a bit hard?

      If Google had come up with a service and now they were scaling it back, I would consider it silly to complain about this, sin
  • 500 error? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Saint Aardvark (159009) * on Thursday December 02, 2004 @10:15AM (#10974284) Homepage Journal
    Oh my god, we Slashdotted Google!

    (Gathers canned goods, candles, heads for cave)

  • Dumb (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JavaLord (680960) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @10:17AM (#10974299) Journal
    Why would you remove the search by date function? That is insanely useful when you are looking for posts about a particular product, especially tech products where you might only want the most recent posts, or you might be searching for an oudated product.
  • Improvements??? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Iphtashu Fitz (263795) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @10:17AM (#10974311)
    Among the various 'improvements': ability to search by date has been eliminated, as has the ability to deep link to a single post.

    Jee, nice "improvements"... I personally have linked to individual posts on a web page summarizing a lawsuit I was involved in that was directly related to posts in a newsgroup. I know others who have linked to posts in similar situations. I just checked my web page and the links to those posts no longer work.

    Google just took a HUGE step backwards in my opinion.
  • by Dynamoo (527749) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @10:17AM (#10974315) Homepage
    OMG.. it's truly awful. They've completely ruined it, and whats with the "Create New Groups" feature. Do we really want newbies to create Usenet groups? And talk about taking away the useful features! The old Google Groups was an easy-to-use, simple tool. This looks like it's been hacked together by a bunch of teenagers.

    Luckily the rot hasn't spread to the national Googles yet, so you can still use Google UK [google.co.uk] if you need it.. at least until they ruin that too.

    • The "Create new group" function creates groups that are limited to Google Groups. They are not usenet newsgroups.
    • by Kingpin (40003) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @10:29AM (#10974466) Homepage

      I'm believe that the "new groups" are not new usenet groups, but merely a yahoo-groups clone on the side, which gets he same interface as the one they provide for usenet groups.

      The old groups interface rocked. This is a major step in the wrong direction in my book.
  • HW summary overview (Score:5, Informative)

    by grape jelly (193168) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @10:18AM (#10974324)
    The article states:

    - Over four billion Web pages, each an average of 10KB, all fully indexed.
    - Up to 2,000 PCs in a cluster.
    - Over 30 clusters.
    - One petabyte of data in a cluster -- so much that hard disk error rates of 10-15 begin to be a real issue.
    - Sustained transfer rates of 2Gbps in a cluster.
    - An expectation that two machines will fail every day in each of the larger clusters.
    - No complete system failure since February 2000.

    Now, 2,000 machines in a cluster, plus 1PB data, plus 2Gbps in a cluster times 30 clusters comes to:

    - "Over" 60,000 PCs (!)
    - "Over" 30PB data storage
    - "Over" 60Gbps bandwidth

    Also interesting:

    - An expectation that two machines will fail every day in each of the larger clusters.
    - No complete system failure since February 2000.
  • by FireBug (83228)
    They changed this on me last night right in the middle of using it for some research. My biggest pet peeve is the separation of posts, or lack thereof. When their search term highlighting kicks in and highlights a bunch of words, it's hard to tell where one post ends and the next begins. I'm NOT a fan of this new design. At least they should let us choose the old one!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 02, 2004 @10:19AM (#10974334)
    Try to search for a number [google.com] using Beta and you'll see how broken it is.

    Also, it creeped me out to no end discovering this morning that my Gmail cookie is really a "Google Accounts" cookie which will now be attached to my Usenet forays via Google as well. I personally don't want the line between public and private conversations to be muddied like that, and I definitely don't want a unified cookie straddling both domains.

    Finally, the interface leaves a lot to be desired. The layout is cluttered and junky now whereas it was clean and simple before. I'm not enthralled by the Javascript hooks. Threading seems to be worse than ever (and still not done by message-ID or References - when I asked Google why this was via email, the response was "too difficult"... *boggle*) and the CLI-esque search ability is degenerating into a GUI mess; where one line of text and a CR would before get you to the page you wanted, it now can take that plus several additional mouse gestures and clicks.

    This is a sad day, to see a useful tool become so f**ked up for no apparent good reason. I can only hope and pray for a reversion.
  • by jaf (121858) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @10:20AM (#10974350) Journal
    Well, this is obviously an outrage and all.

    I know this is a liiiittle bit offtopic, but here's a story about how the little guy (or little country) can still reach a huge company like Google and get them to change something.

    > Date: Mon, 29 Nov 2004 13:04:02 +0100
    > Hi,
    >
    > I wanted to post a question to Google Answers,
    > but my VISA credit card was not accepted,
    > because its expiry date is 09/12 and you only
    > allow up to 2009, not 2012.
    >
    > How do I solve this problem? I live in Denmark.
    > I use the same card to shop on the internet all
    > the time.
    >
    > Kind regards,

    Hello Jakob,

    Unfortunately, because the expiration date is not listed on our billing page, we must ask that you use a different credit card.

    Sincerely,

    The Google Answers Team

    > Date: Tue, 30 Nov 2004 12:00:27 +0100
    >
    > Dear Google Answers Team,
    >
    > That is the only credit card I have. This is
    > very unfortunate, but since others have solved
    > the problem, I'm sure that so could you?
    >
    > Regards, Jakob

    Hello Jakob,

    Thank you for your reply. We will extend our expiration date options. The
    billing page should update in 24-48 hours.

    Sincerely,

    The Google Answers Team

    So still: HURRAY FOR GOOGLE!!!
    • "Please fix things so I can give you money" is different than "please give us back our features that we don't pay your for, and you make no money off of".

      Perhaps we have our reason right there. Google+ accounts anyone?

      Disclaimer: I know nothing about Google groups.
  • by DollyTheSheep (576243) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @10:21AM (#10974361)
    from "Don't be evil"?
    • from "Don't be evil"?

      They've been very close several times before. But the last time I cited the other cases I was modded into oblivion (though also Insightful) and you've already been modded (-1, Offtopic) despite the fact that you're clearly not. So, you just get the quick version this time: Groups itself, Google Cache and Google's image search are all potentially (or almost certainly) illegal in many jurisdictions, and all on dubious moral ground at times, too.

  • Although the the Google Groups advanced search page at http://groups-beta.google.com/advanced_search [google.com] no longer lets you filter searches by date range, the advanced search page at
    http://groups.google.com/advanced_group_search?hl= en [google.com] still does.
  • by BurkeTheEldar (161775) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @10:23AM (#10974392)
    This is a disaster. I have hundreds of links to usenet articles via the old google groups. Those are all dead now. There is no browsable hierarchy of "groups"; no real message threading; far less info on a screen; what a mess. Google groups became my primary interface to usenet and my favorite aspect of google. It seems that google has completely lost its sense. This is one hell of a killer mistake by google.
  • No Escape! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by blueZhift (652272) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @10:24AM (#10974405) Homepage Journal
    Hmmm, I guess this means it may be easier to still find all of that crazy s**t I wrote back in college when people actually used their real names on the internet! Uh oh...
  • ARRRRRRRRGH (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MarcoAtWork (28889) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @10:24AM (#10974406)
    search by date is the most useful feature when searching about many topics, often limiting the search to the last 2 years (or excluding the last 4 for example) yelds the results that one is looking for much more easily.

    I have bookmarks to specific articles/threads it took me a long time to find and to which I refer now and then and if they stop working the usefulness of google groups for me will be much reduced...

    As much as I understand why they would want to make USENET look more like a message board for people who never really grew up with it (usenet and gopher were mostly all we had back when I first went online) I still think that not having this functionality available for people who know how to make the most of it is very backward thinking.
  • well, not me since I never bought into their "do no evil" hype..but the rest of you who did are a big-ass bunch of st00pid suckers.
  • It seems to me that Google has decided to make Google Groups their own private message board and are relegating usenet newsgroups to the back room. The old interface let you easily drill down through the usent hierarchy (alt., comp., sci., rec., and so on). With this new (less) improved interface they've pushed the usenet groups off to one side. From the main page there's now a " Browse all of Usenet..." option at the bottom, and if you click on that you get taken to a page where you can select from an a
  • Not only does the new google groups beta refuse to work (cannot see a post even if the search works), but the old groups.google.com is now redirecting to the new (non-working) engine.

    Grumble.

    And what's with the tab for 'add a new group' - are they planning to any user to unilaterally create new usenet groups? Or are they planning to make usenet indistinguishable from their own (yet another bulletin board type) forums?
  • by TiggsPanther (611974) <tiggsNO@SPAMm-void.co.uk> on Thursday December 02, 2004 @10:31AM (#10974488) Journal

    When Google first bought up the old DejaNews archives I was ticked. They took something with which I could get the information I was after and returned something with which I could not.

    Over the past few years they finally got it back to being something useful. I had heard about this "Make It Into Yet Another Glorified Web Groups" effort, and was less than impressed. But as long as it didn't interfere with it being a decent Usenet search engine...

    No sort-by-date and no direct-article-linking? WTF? So if I want to get only the most recent posts for a certain query or if I want to pass someone a direct link to a specific post then I'm now SOL? How is that an "improvement"?
    Is there anywhere else with an exhaustive archive of Usenet? I think I'm about to jump ship. I neither need nor want another web-groups option, and I want more search flexibility rather than less.

  • Ugh (Score:3, Interesting)

    by eaolson (153849) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @10:32AM (#10974497)

    One thing that's horrible, is trying to find a group in the new system. I was looking for news.admin.net-abuse.email. (Fortunately, I have it bookmarked.) After going to "news." from the top-level Google Groups page, I was taken to a category selection page that included things like "Arts & Entertainment" and even "Adult". There are no such groups under the Usenet news. heirarchy. And under those categories the individual groups are ordered in what's probably their Google PageRank order, not alphabetically, not by size, not by any obvious means.

    The big change seems to be they are integrating the Usenet archive with their own Groups stuff, and the two really aren't the same.

  • by infochuck (468115) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @10:33AM (#10974509)
    This is what happens when you trust one company to maintain anything you need/want access to. It doesn't matter how 'nice' they seem, or how 'cool' they've acted in the past - there's no guarantee they'll continue on that course.
  • by aridg (441976) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @10:34AM (#10974530)
    You can still do a deep link to a single article, if you like....

    Navigate to the thread, for example this [google.com] comp.arch thread. Choose the post you want to link to, and click on "Show Options". Two of the options are "print", which is a link to a "printable" version of the article, and "Show original", which is a link to the article with all the headers.

    One more step (or simple URL hack) from this display is "view parsed" which gives a friendly HTML version -- for example, try this link [google.com].
  • by foistboinder (99286) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @10:41AM (#10974603) Homepage Journal

    I had a link to usenet post in a recent blog [amon-hen.com] entry. Try this [google.com] (sometimes there's a server error, but otherwise it seems to work). The trick is to click on "Show Original" and use that link.

  • by jon3k (691256) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @10:47AM (#10974698)
    I was actually lucky enough to visit a datacenter in the southeast united states (which will remain nameless, but if you do a little searching, Im sure you could figure it out) where Google colocates. I want to say they had something like 18,000 square feet just for them, behind a partitioned wall. We were *not* allowed back there, despite my pleading.

    Anyway, as we were walking around the 150,000+ square foot datacenter floor, when a guy came by, pushing a very odd looking rack.

    It resembled a bread tray, 20 shelves if I counted correctly, with completely naked main boards sitting on them. It looked to be 4 machines per row (counting the power supplys). Each had one IDE disk sitting on a gel pad, strapped in with velcro. I personally watched them wheel 4 of these racks right by me back into the dark "Google" corner of the datacenter. Our tour guide finally gave in.

    Him: "Well, you've seen them now!"
    Me: "What do you mean?"
    Him: "Thats google!"

    Definitely the highlight of my day!
    • by jon3k (691256) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @10:57AM (#10974812)
      From the article:

      Once, said Hölzle, "someone disconnected an 80-machine rack from a GFS cluster, and the computation slowed down as the system began to re-replicate and we lost some bandwidth, but it continued to work. This is really important if you have 2,000 machines in a cluster." If you have 2000 machines then you can expect to see two failures a day.

      Looks like my numbers were correct. 20 shelves * 4 machines per shelf = 80 machines per rack.
  • by LordNimon (85072) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @10:49AM (#10974710)
    http://groups-beta.google.com/support/bin/request. py [google.com]

    If everyone who posted a comment took out 60 seconds to send a complaint message, I think it would make a difference.

  • by CodeHog (666724) <joe.slacker@nOSpAM.gmail.com> on Thursday December 02, 2004 @10:54AM (#10974782) Homepage
    there must be google spys in our midst. Start using the /. code words. :-)
  • by .@. (21735) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @10:55AM (#10974790) Homepage
    Although the "groups" link on the www.google.com page goes to the new interface, http://groups.google.com/ [google.com] still works, and takes you to the old interface everyone prefers.
  • Give them feedback (Score:3, Insightful)

    by repoocaj (783523) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @10:57AM (#10974824)
    I personally think removing the search by date ability was a dumb design decision. You can send them feedback at:

    http://groups-beta.google.com/support/bin/request. py [google.com]

    If you don't like how they've changed it, let them know about it. If enough of us do it, maybe they'll do something about it.

  • Google File System (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gtoomey (528943) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @11:03AM (#10974894)
    Implementation details of the Google File System can be found in this paper [rochester.edu] by Google engineers.
  • Goodbye Google? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ngunton (460215) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @11:19AM (#10975050) Homepage
    This may be a little off-topic, but it's been on my mind recently so I thought I'd mention that I recently blocked Googlebot from my website. Why? Because they were using a new version of the bot that was requesting pages WAY too rapidly, as in tens of pages every second. This new version pretends to be a "real" browser (using the "Mozilla (compatible)" format). The old version (User-Agent begins with "Googlebot") was also present, and requesting pages politely. I think this new version was part of their recent effort to regenerate their index and "deep scan" websites, because it was shortly after this that they advertised their index doubling in size [slashdot.org].

    There were other issues as well as the rapacious spidering (which reminded me of some of the worst spambots [neilgunton.com] out there), but I won't go into the details here. I didn't get any satisfactory resolution from Google when I tried contacting them.

    Website suicide? I don't know. All I do know is that Google seems to be fulfilling my biggest fears - they are going downhill as they get bigger. Funny how the bigger a company gets, the more it tends to suck. Also, having an IPO is never a good thing, in my experience - it always leads to short-termism and corporate decisions based more on the bottom line than what's actually good for the users. Sure, any company has to look after its shareholders and investors, but they never seem to really grok that being so focused on the short-term negatively impacts things in the longer term, particularly if it loses you goodwill in the userspace. Also, as a company grows you do tend to get the sort of braindead, clueless decisions coming out that we apparently see here.

    So now we have Google restricting what we can do with old Usenet posts... didn't they buy up all the archives for this stuff a while back? This would appear to give them some amount of power, but also (they should realize) responsibility as stewards of the past. This is not something that they are simply indexing on someone else's website, it's data that they actually own. But in this case it's not really their data at all - it's the community's.

    Google seems to be slowly using up the goodwill they built up since 1998 when they came onto the scene, a small, fast, simple, charming and relevant search engine that kicked ass. Why can't a company just keep doing what it does well, and be satisfied with that? Why does everything have to eventually grow, expand, gobble up other companies, and then inevitably start to suck?

    Never mind... for now, Goodbye Google.
  • A friend forwarded this to me several years back.

    http://groups.google.com/groups?q=ken+weaverling+s pam+usenet+first&hl=en&selm=9v6d5h%245pg%241%40new s.dtcc.edu&rnum=1 [google.com]

    According to Ken and his search of google, I was the first people to ever use the word "spam" to refer to unwanted electronic communication. Obviously, I did'nt know it at the time and was quite surprised to learn of my "fame." Yeah, that and $7 will get me a cup of mocha-something, I know.

    Anyhow, the whole point is that Ken's reserach was aided by the search by date feature. It will be a shame if that is removed.

    (And for the curious, I changed my name from Czarnecki when I got married.)

  • by shippo (166521) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @11:30AM (#10975170)
    ... or should that be deja-news? Remember when that site changed for the worse?

    The new system sucks. No fixed-width fonts by default, that horrible floating group name at the right of the screen when scrolling, a far slower user interface (it was slow when I first noticed the change about 7 hours ago). I can go on.

    They'll be underlining words with links next.
  • by WillAdams (45638) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @12:24PM (#10975750) Homepage
    and figured out that many people were trying the beta, not liking it enough to trouble to send feedback and just switching back to the original version.

    William
  • by Animats (122034) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @12:27PM (#10975795) Homepage
    "We have thought of having a button saying 'give me less commercial results'," but the company has shied away from implementing this yet.

    That's an good idea. Other useful capabilities for advanced search:

    • Ignore sites with ads.
    • Ignore sites which are primarily indexes of other sites.
    • Ignore auction sites.
    • Ignore sites advertised in spam, using Gmail spam info.

    Google may end up becoming a major player in spam control, because they process large volumes of mail through search systems and can potentially recognize almost all bulk mail.

  • by martin-k (99343) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @01:15PM (#10976247) Homepage
    If you don't like how Google's Usenet search engine and archive evolves (neither do I; Dejanews was tops for its time and things went downhill from there), help the competition... :-)

    I already have an archive of around 600 million messages (nearly everything sans binaries from 2000 till today; just a couple of terabytes) and intend to create a public Usenet search engine. As I am using Usenet myself on a daily basis, I know what *I* want in a Usenet search engine, and that's quite different from what Google gives us.

    Here's how you can help: Contact me at martin-k (at) softmaker.de if you have a private collection of Usenet postings that you want me to put in the database.

    -mk

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