just announced that it is relaunching its Google Help Forums and we believe the changes are likely to be extended to all Google Groups forums in the future. The new forums include some great new features and utilize the new Google Profiles extensively.Google
Highlighted changes include reputation, designation of "top contributors," standards-based profiles that extend across Google products and the web, and the ability for Google staff and top contributors to mark some questions as answered.
In its announcement this afternoon the company said that the help forums for AdWords, AdSense, Android Market, Google Apps, Google Chrome and (inexplicably) most of its Polish products, are live with the new version now and more Help forums will be relaunched in coming months. Google said today that it loves the Help users and has learned tremendously from the conversation there. We've written before about weeks long delays from the company in responding to serious concerns in some Help forums, but the new set up could help make Help much easier for Googlers to handle.
In initial testing of the forums, we wish there was more AJAX, but otherwise we think it looks good. The Google Profiles are both good because of their awesome standards-based extensibility (they are marked up with the Social Graph API and hCard) and a potential privacy concern because the limits of that Social Graph API are not firmly defined. Your profile is here.
Much of the user experience here is reminiscent of GetSatisfaction, a still clearly superior help-forum service. Another example of a really good forum for a large number of people can be found in the Spiceworks developer forum.
We hope that all Google Groups will soon include the new features that the Help Forums now do and we hope that the improvement will continue. Google products evolve so much slower than many of us expect that every announcement like this is a very big deal.