Usenet is an online bulletin board system that began at Duke University in 1979. Usenet users can post messages to newsgroups that can be read (and responded to) by anyone who has access to the system through a newsreader. Over the years, the number of newsgroups has grown into the thousands; they’re hosted all over the world and cover every conceivable topic.
Google Groups contains the world’s most comprehensive archive of Usenet postings, dating back to 1981. Using Groups, you won’t need a newsreader and you can search this archive the same way you’d search on the web. You can also use Groups to post your own comments to an existing Usenet newsgroup.
It started in 1979. Google bought Deja.com’s archives in 2001. And what happens with each and every Google product without a single exception? Spam. You’d think they would (1) recognise it and (2) have a clue how to deal with it. But they can’t, they don’t and their lack of interest means one of the most interesting places on the net has gone. Just went looking for uk.people.bodyart and it’s all spam. rec.arts.bodyart is slightly better but only just. alt.games.mame is spammy. Everywhere is. Yet the company that says it makes billions of dollars cannot be bothered to clean things up. Brightest people work at Google? So why can’t they figure spam out? Anyway, it’s a shame because Usenet was a great place despite some trolls.