Google has announced a new interface and features for Google Groups, the Google property that started as Usenet posts but has expanded to discussion and mailing lists that anybody can create. You can check out the new version of groups at http://groups-beta.google.com/.
At first glance it looks more to me like Yahoo Groups than it used to, which is funny; except for the fact that Yahoo Groups is much older and therefore hosts a lot more groups, I find Google Groups to have better searching and usability features (message searching across all groups at once, better group search with fewer spam results, etc.)
An overview of the new features: group creators and administrators now have a lot more control over how the new group looks. Once a group has been created, the group owner has the option to create a welcome message and upload a logo for the group. There’s also a “pages” section that allows users to create HTML pages from within the group environment. Members of a group can also upload files in a new “files” section and create member profiles. You can get an overview of all the new features in the Google Groups Beta Tour.
I went and looked at the Google Maps API group using the new beta — you can see it at http://groups-beta.google.com/group/Google-Maps-API . People had put code problems into the “pages” section, but were being asked to move them into the regular messages section. A .gif and what looked like some code were all that were in the “files” section. This new setup may take a little getting used to, but I can see where it would be very useful for community organization.