Google has announced on its blog that Google Groups has been taken out of beta.
I reviewed the beta version of Google Groups last October, noting then that the new features included the ability to upload files, create member profiles, and create pages. Google is announcing those as new features in the announcement, but I don’t know if they’ve been upgraded some how or if “new” means “not in beta anymore.”
For a second look I went to the Google Maps API Page. Recent discussions (message threads), pages, and files (apparently there’s a 100MB-per-group limit for the files) all show up on the same page. I went and looked at the Files section, which had a few things in it. The Pages section had several useful link lists for integrating Google Maps with various tools, creating custom icons, etc.
Note that the groups which have the pages and files features are Google Groups. It should go without saying but the actual Usenet “newsgroups” browsable within Google Groups — comp.os.linux.advocacy, for example — do not have the files/pages/whatever offerings. Instead Google invites you to create your own Google Group for that topic. So you might end up with the Linux Users Group, which has almost 3000 members and moderate activity.
Frankly I didn’t see much difference from when I looked at the Google Groups offering back in October. But now as then I do find that the group search results are a lot better than Yahoo Groups — less spammy results, and the search is more efficient — and the ability to search for messages instead of being restricted to searching for groups only is a big plus. Google Groups is turning out to be a really nice Google property.