Deja News

Anyone remember Deja News? You wouldn’t, if you were never active on Usenet, which was a big part of the Internet before the web was developed (announced on Usenet, mind you) and became, to most mind, “the Internet.” It was a web site that could be used to access and to search Usenet. Search being the big deal, though it was handy to have something that didn’t require a news reader program.

Google bought Deja News eons ago, which drew mixed expectations that leaned, if I recall correctly, negative. Still, they made some improvements for a while, and used it to promote non-Usenet “groups.” There had been various companies offering those. Ultimately it came down mainly to Yahoo, and groups were and are essentially mailing lists that also have a web archive/interface. Which isn’t so hard to do. I run a little-used mailing list of former colleagues, using a common mailing list program, and it keeps a web archive/interface members can access, if they know and remember they can. But I digress.

Google has increasingly downplayed Groups, their own and especially Usenet, perhaps even to the point of helping Usenet be forgotten. First you take over an important access point and tool, then you make it obscure…

As it turns out, there is still an alternate Deja search interface out there that can get you the results that may no longer be easy to search for otherwise. Worth knowing about, if you want to take a look back.

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