Google has constructed a twenty-year archive of online discussion (Usenet) groups. It's believed to be the only one of its kind.

Online posts include the first discussions about Mac OS X, and the launch of the original Lisa and Macintosh. Other highlights include Linus Torvalds introducing Linux, Marc Andressen's presentation of the first-ever Netscape browser, and Tim Berners Lee's first announcement of what became the World Wide Web.

Postings also include reaction to Apple's 1984 Superbowl ad: "I thought it was a gripping visceral 60 seconds of SF, and extremely effective. The Boston Globe reports (not surprisingly) that it was directed by Ridley Scott (Alien, Blade Runner)," writes John Aspinall.

Google purchased the data from earlier this year. The archive is searchable, and provides a "unique insight into the history and culture of online communication, extending more than ten years prior to the birth of the Web", said Google.

"We believe this is the most complete collection of Usenet articles ever assembled and a fascinating first-hand historical account," it claims.

The US Web was officially ten years old yesterday. The first US Web server was installed at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Centre on December 12, 1991. The first ever Web server was installed at CERN (Switzerland) in 1990 by Tim
Berners Lee and Robert Cailliau.