This story was written by Keith Dawson for the Industry Standard's Media Grok email newsletter. It is archived here for informational purposes only because The Standard's site is no more. This material is Copyright 1999-2001 by Standard Media.

Deja Googled

Feb 13 2001 12:00 AM PST

Web pioneer sells its archive of Usenet postings to Google, then heads into the sunset.

Yesterday Google (dossier) bought the only pieces of value left in (dossier) - the archive of Usenet postings dating to 1995 - for an undisclosed price. The passing of a Web pioneer drew only light coverage on a day dominated by Napster (dossier) spins. The newspapers of record didn't lean too hard into the story: The Times ran AP copy, and the Journal had no story posted by Grok's deadline.

Slashdot was out early with the news. This is understandable, as the Open Source and Linux crowds depend for their lifeblood on a searchable Usenet archive. (Google is offering a beta search with only six months of Usenet visible; the earlier 500 million messages are promised in due course.)

CNET's Paul Festa interviewed former Deja executives and outlined Google's (lack of) plans for the remaining 20 Deja employees. In what may be an example of new "coopetition" in the news biz, ZDNet (now owned by CNET) ran the Festa story as a "Special to ZDNet."

Associated Press coverage, carried by WashTech and others, went well beyond the basics of Google's press release. Reporter Michael Liedtke got a byline and a challenging comment from Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Watch: "The big question will be whether (Google) can find a way to make money from this asset. Deja certainly couldn't."

Google Soaks Up Last Assets From

Google Buys Deja Unit (AP)
Washington Post

Dj-Vu Internet Blues: Google Snaps Up Assets

Google Buys Deja Archive
Wired News

Google Saves Usenet Service
The Register