Google Groups New Interface Looks More like Email

If you use Google groups, you might have noticed the switch to the new version. It is a little more colorful, using html5 and integrating into the other Google properties.

Google Groups Interface

Google Groups Interface

Google Groups is Google’s answer to message boards. Just like with Yahoo! groups, you can create a new group and invite friends to it. They can then read the messages, or interact (depending on how you have the group set up). For example, Todd uses groups to message subscribers of Geek News Central podcast.

Switching is not that difficult. Just choose to use the new Google Groups interface, then (when comfortable) select the button on top called “Switch to the new Google Groups”.

It’s got an email feel to this new version. The left pane is the groups you are in. When you select a group, the list of messages show up on the right. At the top, you are asked to adjust your profile – either update your name or attach this group to your Google profile.¬†Then you can message away!

Does it change the email version?

So you don’t go to this interface. You end up emailling to [whatever]@googlegroups.com. You get emails and respond that way.

So far, nothing has changed there. You can still email to google groups and get messages either when they come out, on a daily digest or never.

Time for Yahoo to Close Groups?

It’s another Monday and seems to be another day of inbox Spam. However, I’ve noticed recently how more and more spam groups are being created on Yahoo! and joining me. They basically say the same thing:

I’ve added you to my akljsdfklj group. a free Yahoo! Group to send and receive group messages.

Description: asdflkhasdf

To gain access, click the link…

This is another reason that Yahoo! just doesn’t care about their product. I use Google Groups all the time and don’t get any spam messages like this. Yet, every week I am removing stupid posts like in the image.

Where is the confirmation? I really have to click on a link and tell them this group is spam? Why not have some protocols in place to avoid me getting annoyed like this?

Here are some ideas that anyone running a group website could implement:

1. Multiple fields on form

Make them fill out more information than your name and small description. Make them enter in some contact information. Require a description field to be 20 words or more (not just characters). Have an algorithm determine if the description is jibberish or actually says something.

2. CAPTCHA

It’s annoying, but in a way, it’s meant to be annoying. That way, you know someone is human. Yahoo! does have some CAPTCHA algorithms that they could use in this group. It also kills the bots attempts to register groups.

3. Confirmation

Email confirmation means they have to register an email address first. That might also stop some bots from creating groups.

These are not revolutionary ideas. They have been used before and can be used again. The more we can stop spammers and bots, the less phishing scams and malware can be created. When that happens, people and companies save millions of dollars.

So Yahoo! – If you’re just going to let it continue, then why not shut down YahooGroups and get out of the business. It’s what you’re doing anyway…