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The end of Yahoo Groups? Not quite yet but close

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Yahoo announced far-reaching changes to the company’s Yahoo Groups service recently. The changes affect the visibility of groups, uploaded content, and upload functionality.

Yahoo Groups was one of the world’s largest discussion boards in its heyday. It allowed Yahoo users to create and join groups, and post content to these groups directly using a web browser or by using email.

Established in 2001, Yahoo Groups became soon thereafter the go-to place for all kinds of people. Groups existed to discuss politics, sports, religion, history, technology, and all kinds of hobbies and other topics.

Yahoo announced the following changes affecting Yahoo Groups recently:

  • October 28, 2019 — upload functionality is removed from the site.
  • December 14, 2019 — “all previously posted content” will be removed permanently from the site.

Yahoo notes that Yahoo Groups will continue to exist but that all public groups will be set to private or restricted. Admins and existing members will retain access but new group members will have to request invites or be invited by administrators to join the group and participate in the discussions taking place.

The following features will be removed:

  • Files
  • Polls
  • Links
  • Photos
  • Folders
  • Calendar
  • Database
  • Attachments
  • Conversations
  • Email Updates
  • Message Digest
  • Message History

Existing users have until December to save certain data, e.g. photos and files, and to download date using the Privacy Dashboard. A Knowledgebase article on the Yahoo Help website provides links to the export tools.

Yahoo Groups users will still be able to communicate within groups via email and use search functionality on the Yahoo Groups website to find groups. Administrators will retain some administrative tools but these will be limited in comparison to the existing capabilities.

It is unclear at this point if the deletions are limited to uploaded user content, e.g. files, or if the actual discussions will be removed as well from the site. The latter would impact groups seriously going forward.

Yahoo Groups is not the only service that Yahoo, or its new parent company Verizon, dropped in recent time. Other products that were abandoned or sold by the company include Yahoo Messenger, once one of the world’s most popular messaging solutions, the photo hosting service Flickr which was sold to SmugMug, or the micro-blogging service Tumblr.

Closing Words

Yahoo Groups is probably not as widely used anymore as it has been a decade ago. Part of it comes down to users moving to other services, e.g. discussion forums like Reddit.

The Internet Archive revealed yesterday that it plans to save as much data as possible before the changes take place to preserve the content.


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