GUBA Does Graphical Search For Usenet

    November 2, 2005
    WebProNews Staff

With a lot of multimedia content floating around in newsgroups, one company decided the best way to find it would be via a web browser.

Om Malik’s latest blog entry discusses GUBA, a for-pay search engine that sifts through the dark underbelly of the Internet called Usenet. While Usenet newsgroups have fallen out of the public eye, they do still exist and thrive robustly.

In those newsgroups, people post thoughts on a variety of topics ranging from the mundane to the bizarre, with plenty of stops in between. Quite a few groups are devoted to visual content, like images and videos. GUBA crawls these groups every day, tags what it finds, and makes it available for subscribers.

The use of Flash to playback video forms the most compelling piece of GUBA’s service. Since Flash works on a number of platforms, having the latest proprietary media player doesn’t matter for viewing videos found with GUBA. It all plays back in the browser.

As Malik notes, the company is a success story, forming in 1998 and surviving the dot-com crash. At $14.95 per month, the company’s founder points out in Malik’s interview that GUBA has “tens of thousands” of subscribers. Soon they will provide downloads for the new video iPod, too.

Malik does fret about the potential of Napster-style litigation should the movie industry decide that the “we’re just an index” argument GUBA offers works as well for them as it did for Shawn Fanning. San Francisco is a very short flight for MPAA lawyers to take from Hollywood, after all.

David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.