Google Groups is one of the most popular way to have discussions with people. You can also have private Google Groups which can be used to share ideas or discuss anything between a group of people.
Since Google Groups had launched, there were hardly any changes made to the UI. However, it looks like Google is now revamping the groups and adding a more user-friendly UI to it. At first glance, the revamped Google Groups show hints of Google Wave, the failed Google product which is now rechristened as Apache Wave.
The new UI, has a sidebar which allows you to quickly navigate between groups and recently viewed topics. The main topics area has been revamped too to make it easier to browse and reply to threads. The new UI also has a new Overview section which displays the topic summary, links used as references in the post and the conversation thread.
Overall, the new Google Groups UI is pretty easy to navigate and is really fast. You can give the new Google Groups UI a test by visiting this page and clicking on the "Switch to new Groups" button. You can also watch a video embedded below to see what the new Google Groups looks like.
Google Groups, whether useful or spamful has been used extensively by organizations for their internal communication. Even at our institute, loads of study material is shared on Google Groups and accessing it becomes easy and handy for all of us. Facilities like these have made a large number of people to turn to Google Groups to share content amongst groups.
However, if you have recently tried to make a new page in Google Groups, you might have seen the notice about files and pages that appears before you are allowed to proceed. The exact terms of the announcement stand as:
Starting in November 2010, Groups will no longer allow the creation or editing of files and pages; the content will only be available for viewing, and only existing files will be able to be downloaded. If you would like to keep the content currently on the pages and files sections of your group, we highly encourage you to export and migrate it to another product. In February 2011, we will turn off the pages and files features, and you will no longer be able to access that content.
In short, Google is forcing people to use its storage services like Google Docs to upload and maintain files online. The idea is clarified here:
We have decided to stop supporting the pages and files features. Even though we know discontinuing these features may inconvenience some of you in the short term, we believe that this move will improve your experience storing and sharing files as other products, such as Google Docs and Google Sites, are designed specifically for file storage and page creation.
This is a move by Google where it has made two things clear:
Google has a kill switch to all its free services.
Google wants us to use its services seriously and not find hacks and workarounds to use them in our desired way.
Bruce Eckel was prompt enough to notice this and write on it. Read his views here.
Out here at Techie Buzz, we have been using Google Groups to communicate a lot within the team, however, quite recently Google Groups started adding a message to the footer of the first message sent out to subscribed email addresses, which is similar to the one below.
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to groupname+unsubscribegooglegroups.com or reply to this email with the words “REMOVE ME” as the subject.
The new addition is most probably an introduction to comply with the FCC Spam policy, which mandates companies/corporations to add a unsubscribe link or notice to the bottom of every email which is sent out by them.
If users receive mass-mailers and do not see an unsubscribe link, they can report the company or email to FCC at their CAN-SPAM website, which will then take due action and fine the said company.
Google Groups seems to have been complying with the unsubscribe policy for the past few days, but it looks like their team did it in an hurry since they messed up the Grammar in the unsubscribe notice. The text should have been “send an email”.
Did the FCC rap you too hard, or was it just something your spell/grammar checker missed out on? By the way, we do have a list of several online grammar and readability checkers which could come in handy.