Google, one of the most popular companies in the world, is one of the Internet leaders. Its numerous Internet based services have allowed users to search the net, collaborate, communicate and even play. Some services however aren’t as popular, but are equally powerful. One is Google Groups, which has recently undergone a revamp.
Google Groups is one of the best functions for businesses that use Gmail. The core idea of this service is that it allows you to create online and email based groups where you can communicate with like-minded users. Some uses of Groups include:
- Team discussions – For example, you could create a group for each team in your company, so members of the group can discuss work related issues or for training purposes.
- Create a customer service/FAQ related to a product or service – If you have a product or service that customers have been asking questions about, you can create a group they can join which provides support and answers questions.
- Non-essential communication – If you have a team or company that loves to share links, jokes and content that is not related to work, you can create a group where this is allowed, while limiting emails. This can help reduce the number of non-essential emails, while still providing a way for colleagues to communicate and bond.
Google Groups has been around since 2001 and while it has largely flown under the radar for many users, Google has kept the service alive and running, and has even recently revamped it to make some improvements.
New in Google Groups
One of the new features introduced in the new version of Groups is an improved inbox which allows members of the group to create, share and track tasks and responsibilities with one another. The interesting thing about this feature is that you can create a single email address for the group that can be managed by all of the members. They can then assign tasks and mark these as resolved after completion. In other words, the new Groups feature is potentially a great way for companies to track workflow, and support tasks getting finished on time.
Another new feature is a mobile optimized version of Groups that can be accessed from any mobile device. This means you can access, manage and contribute to Groups from anywhere.
You can also look for and find Groups to join and contribute to. If you can find one that is related to what your company does, you could join and contribute. If you have associated your profile with your company, you will, over time, gain recognition and could start looking for new clients or ties through the Group.
How to set up a Group
If you would like to create a new group you can do so by:
- Logging into your Google Account.
- Going to the Google Groups page: groups.google.com.
- Clicking Create Group.
When you click on this, the Create Group window will open. From there, give the group a name, email address description, pick the Group type and set the permissions. You will be able to pick from up to four Group types including:
- Email list – This is a mailing list group where users can post from the web or via their email.
- Web forum – This is a standard web forum where users can create and contribute to topics and admin can manage and moderate. Members have to post content through the site and will get email updates.
- Q&A forum – This Group involves asking and answering questions and is similar to a web forum, but has extra features, including giving users the ability to assign and resolve tasks, as well as rate and organize questions.
- Collaborative inbox – This Group allows members to manage a centralized inbox and workflow within the group.
Once you have picked a Group type, you should set the Basic permissions which include:
- View topics – Who can view the topics created in the Group.
- Post – Who can post content and create new topics within the Group.
- Join the Group – Who can join the Group. You can select from three options. If this is a private group, be sure to select Only invited users.
Finally, once you have finished, press Create and your Group will be established.
If you are looking to learn more about Google Groups or any of Google’s other products, please contact us today to find out how this interesting platform can add to your business.