Google Groups New Features: Question and Answer Groups, Assigning Topics, and Collaborative Inbox

Welcome back for Part III on the new features of Google Apps! In Part I and Part II, we introduced six new features of Google Groups. Now, we continue with an additional three features. We are going to explore Question & Answer Groups, Taking and Assigning Topics, as well as the new group type called Collaborative Inbox. Taking some time to fully understand these nine new features can help benefit your understanding of Google Groups and the effective ways you are your group or team can implement successful work flows. 

Question & Answer Groups

A Question & Answer group is one of the four group types available in Google Groups. Question & Answer groups are ideal for groups that focus primarily on resolving issues rather than open discussions. This group type uses additonal features such as the Me Too! button, best answer option, and question template. 

Me Too! Button:

The Me too! button displayed in a topic lets authorized users indicate that they have the same question as the topic's creator.
The Me Too! button is located directly within the question post. 

When you recognize a question you are also seeking an answer for, simply select the Me Too! option. This will indicate hot topics without cluttering discussion threads posting the same question over and over. 

Mark as Best Answer:

A response to a question can be marked as the best answer by authorized users. This also marks the entire topic as answered.

Marking best answers will help other members easily find the best answer without spending time browsing the listed responses.

Question Template:

You can create a default question template that users fill in when they create a new topic. This can be useful if you are going to assign a small group of individuals with the responsibility of capturing questions. This way, you can be sure that all essential information is captured the first time. 

To create the template, navigate to the 'Information' section under the group management. Then select 'Web View Customization'. 

You can now create the template and save. Upon saving, this template will appear upon each new posting that is generated within the group.

In this example, let's assume that I have assigned three individuals with capturing questions about requests for information. I have generated a template to be sure that all necessary information is captured.

Please enjoy this instructional video on Question & Answer Groups. 

Taking and Assigning Topics

Authorized users can take responsibility for resolving a topic, or assign that responsibility to another group member. This feature, combined with tags and filtering, enables a group to be used as an issue-tracking system.

You will need to set these settings specifically for your group to allow users to assign and take topics. Note: This setting is automatically applied if you choose ‘Collaborative Inbox’. 

How to Change the settings to allow assigning topics:

Go to ‘Posting Permissions’ 

Select the user roles that have the ability to assign topics. You can choose to have all members, managers, or owners. 

Be sure to save this change for the group or it will not be applied! 

How to Assign Topics Within Groups:

Once you adjust the permissions, users will now have the ability to assign or take topics that are posted. This will be useful for managers to assign specific topics, conversations, or emails. 

Select the message you would like to assign and find the button ‘Actions’ to find the ability to assign the message. 

You can now select the individual you wish to assign the topic to. Note: You can only assign a topic to members of the group. 

Please enjoy this instructional video on taking and assigning topics.

Collaborative Inbox

When you create a group, you can specify that the group is intended as a collaborative inbox. Doing so automatically enables collaborative permissions—such as assigning topics, marking duplicates, and changing tags—for all of the group's members. 

If you've already created a group that you'd like to use as a collaborative inbox, you can always enable these permissions individually.

Please enjoy this instructional video on Collaborative Inbox.

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