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Google promises fix for jittery Usenet addicts

Newsgroups never die. They only fade away. And come back again

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Usenet diehards are complaining that Google is no longer mirroring the venerable internet discussion forums on its web-based Google Groups service, but the company has reassured them that this is merely a glitch that will soon be resolved.

On August 1, Google Groups seemed to stop updating its Usenet forums, and as of Tuesday, August 9, Usenet addicts were still wondering whether Google would ever ease their pain. "Is there something in the works to bring the Usenet side of Google Groups back to life ? It's been down for a week now (and it's not the first time) and absolutely nothing on the apps status page," Alexander Ferrieux on the Google Groups discussion page for Google's Native Client project. "What the hell is going on?"

Ferrieux is a TCL developer who recently plugged the age old scripting language into Native Client – a means of running native code inside the browser – and he wanted to know what had happened to the Google incarnation of the TCL newsgroup.

Now that's old school. And we say that in the most affectionate of ways.

According to a Google spokeswoman, the company has not killed its Usenet service. It'sis merely experiencing some technical difficulties. "Beginning last week, Groups had intermittent issues with mirroring Usenet messages, that means messages posted to Usenet experienced a delay in appearing in Google Groups. We have identified the issue, and are in the process of patching it. In the next few days, the Usenet archives will catchup and become current again," she told us.

"All other Google Groups are functioning normally and messages are being archived correctly on Groups. We apologize for the inconvenience this has caused our users."

It would appear that the Google Usernet is still trapped in the first day of August. But if you're getting the jitters, it would appear that a fix is on the way.

In the summer of 2009, after New York attorney general and anti-porn crusader Andrew Cuomo strong-armed the big American ISPs into dropping newsgroups as part of his effort to rid the net of porn, many media outlets announced the end of Usenet. But we all know that it will never die. ®

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