January 28, 2009

Google Groups Plus

OK, I have tired of having ideas that I never get around to implementing, so I am going to take a page out of Seth Godin's book and just write this thing up so somebody with more time and inclination can get rich from doing it. Or at least provide a service to people who could use it.

It's time that Google Groups (or at least some of them) were available via NNTP. Sure, I can use the somewhat quirky and always less than satisfactory web interface that Google provide. Or I could set the groups I am interested in to deliver the posts via email. But an NNTP client would just be so much more convenient and usable. So what we need is a system that scrapes Google Groups and offers NNTP access to the resulting content.

There is, of course, the minor issue of Google's terms of service. The most significant part says:
Google authorizes you to view and download a single copy of the Materials solely for your personal, non-commercial use. You may not sell or modify the Materials or reproduce, display, publicly perform, distribute, or otherwise use the Materials in any way for any public or commercial purpose without the written permission of Google. Special rules may apply to the use of certain software and other items provided via the Services, and are noted where appropriate.

If you would like information about obtaining Google's permission to use any of the Materials on your Web site, please send an e-mail to groups-support@google.com.
So we will have to persuade Google not to be evil - I imagine they will be upset not to be able to insert advertising in the stream, but if they did that wouldn't be Usenet, now would it? I would hope Google would be mindful of how they came by the archival content that started this venture in determining how to license the materials.

I know there are people in the Python world who could put this together in under a week.

While I am dealing in quirky ideas, here's another one, in this case to monitor (and hopefully control) spending on government credit cards. Could this work?


Alex said...

Since a Google Group can be turned into emails, making those mails into NNTP posts isn't a week's worth of work -- less than a day. Actually, there ARE existing gateways to turn mailing lists into NNTP posts and I do suspect any of them could be repurposed. So, technically the problem is as close to non-existent as it gets...

René Dudfield said...


this is pretty useful:

I think gmane can do what you want. You can attach it to mailing lists, and get it to offer a news gateway.

We use gmane for pygame, and it works well. pygame uses a mailing list mirrored by gmane, and google groups. The news interface is offered by gmane, and a few different web interfaces are offered (our own, gmane, and google groups etc).


Georg Brandl said...

While *all* of Google Groups via NNTP would be nice (or at least the part that isn't already Usenet), you can subscribe single groups to Gmane today, and with much less work :)

Anonymous said...

Another vote for gmane, I've been using it very happy for a long time now. If I just need to read the mailing list, it's usually already there (and it's easy to sign new ones up). If I also need to write to a mailing list, I subscribe and turn the subscription so that it won't send me messages anymore, or alternatively I filter those messages to a separate mailbox I rarely need to access.