If you haven't visited the Google Labs lately, they have released a beta of Google Groups 2 that you may want to check out. This is Google's answer to Yahoo Groups, and they've added some new features to make their service more useful.
For those who don't know, such groups allow anyone to easily and quickly start their own announcement lists and discussion forums. There is no need to install scripts or anything else on a web site, and no technical knowledge beyond email and posting to a discussion board is needed. If you want, you can use Google Groups to post to and read Usenet postings as well.
Of course, nothing is truly free, and Google Groups is no different. In exchange for making the technology available to host your group, Google displays relevant text ads on your group's home page on Google. "Relevant" is determined by the content of your Google Group discussions. This is the same type of technology used by Google to display AdSense advertising on web sites and relevant text advertising on their free Gmail email service.
The process to create a group is fast and painless. Just create your group's name and email address, and invite your members to join. You are able to make your group either public or private, and Google has provided a new interface so that you can see your group's postings sorted any of several different ways. The Beta 2 Google Groups also features dynamic conversations, with both Usenet and mailing list postings created within 10 seconds, and indexed within 10 minutes from post.
Families, old college running buddies, online communities, and many others may find benefit in using Google Groups, and the Beta 2 release is worth a try.
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