Google restores Usenet archive, plans posting

So that's where the DAT went

Google overnight yanked the Deja backup tape out from under the Foosball table, where it had been propping up that wobbly leg, and now much of Deja's historic Usenet archive is online again.

Google also plans to add the ability to post Usenet message by mid-May, company spokesman David Krane told us.

The company took enormous heat in February when it acquired the Deja archive, but failed to replace its web front end. Within weeks however, a beta replacement added threading capabilities, which while not quite replacing the functionality of the Deja UI at least introduced Google's famed speed. So you could get not-very-far, very fast, jibed cynics.

And there's no pleasing some people. "Until they have threading by message ID (ANY threading at all, please) it is kind of pointless to try to follow a discussion. Until the basic search sorts by date instead of relevance, you'll get a jumble of messages from 1995, 2000, 1998, 1997, conveniently mixed up for your perusal," notes a posted over at Slashdot.

Krane says Google is still working on UI improvements, so if you have a suggestion, let them know. A core team of fewer than ten is working on the beta service, out of around 200 employees. The Deja archive represents over a terabyte of data, he says.

Long-term campaigner for a good home for the archive, Netizens author and Internet historian Ronda Hauben is scheduled to give a lecture entitled Usenet and the Usenet Archives The Challenges of Building A Collaborative Technical Community at nearby Stanford University on May 23. The event as originally floated, was to be a two-handed with Google CEO Larry Page. Now it seems Larry will out of town that day, which saves us a fortune in additional flame retardant clothing, we guess.

However we can banish the fear that the archive was lost for good. At least it wasn't propping up the aquarium. ®

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