Google’s Neglected Library

In light of Google's recent push for a book settlement, their past is being considered and it's true to say that it's surprisingly unmarred. In this specific market however, Google has made mistakes. The worst of these is known as Usenet

A massive internet and dial-up-based message board system brought to life in 1980. For decades, Usenet served as the paper record of the online world, its hundreds of millions of newsgroup postings chronicling the birth of the interweb and the rise of Microsoft, with everything in between getting its' due documentation by dedicated techies. But flash forward eight years and visiting Google Groups- the application Google turned Usenet into- is a hopeless and disappointing reflection on a nearly inaccessible history.

In February 2001, Google acquired the New York-based, Home of Usenet and quickly transformed it into Google Groups, a move cheered by net geeks who had watched as Deja’s reliability declined. They were excited for the always competent Google's rescue strategy. The entire archives placed a library of 700 million articles from 35,000 newsgroups, spanning two decades in the hands of Google's staff.

Searching for any one article, no matter how groundbreaking, is nearly impossible without a direct link, which could take hours to locate. Now, a year after called attention to the bugs, the problems with the archive not only remain problematic, but aren’t even mentioned on Google Groups's “known issues” page. When asked if the bugs are documented anywhere, or if Google planned on ever repairing its library, a company spokesman was noncommittal.

There are many sound arguements for the book settlement, which would give the internet the largest and most comprehensive library in history. But this is all at the cost of granting Google a virtual monopoly, and in light of the abandoned and neglected remains of internet's history, we're all reminded that Google is not the new hope for literacy. They are an advertising company. Courtesy of

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