The old discussions were messages on USENET, which still exists. rec.games.chess is a newsgroup in USENET it is not firstly a part of google groups. Messages can be sent and read in the newsgroup without going near Google. The data of the newsgroups are held on USENET servers of which there are many. USENET is distributed. Messages get copied to each server ...


A point that the other answers so far perhaps don't make clear enough is the decentralised nature of the Internet back then. We've got used to the idea that every type of content is accessible at some central location (whether that's a single server, a whole data centre, or even a group of data centres all accessible at single address or web page).  But that'...


The Internet started as a project of the US Department of Defense's Advanced Research Projects Agency, under the name "ARPANET". The original five top-level domains (.com, .org, .edu, .gov, and .mil) date from 1984, when the network was still almost exclusively a US-only project.

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