Google recently released the new version of Google Groups. This immediately prompted discourse about the new features and the effective uses of this application. We understand that some users are very familiar with this application while others are new to all Google Apps. With this blog series, we are going to bridge the gap on the knowledge base of Google Groups among users that are new to the Google Apps suite and Google Apps veterans. Through the series, you will learn about all the new and exciting features of Google Groups and receive an overview of best practices. So whether you consider yourself to be a Google Groups expert or a Google Groups newbie, this series is sure to provide helpful information on the adaptation and uses of the new Google Groups application.
Blog Series: Table of Contents
Intro to Google Groups
On the surface, Google Groups are mailing lists or the ever-so-familiar distribution lists. This is useful for reaching large groups of people by email and simplifying the process for the sender. Beneath the surface, Google Groups offer many more useful features which allow users to successfully manage work flows within a group or team. Let's begin with a basic understanding.
General Understanding of Google Groups
Groups can be created by an IT administrator in the control panel or by the user in Google Apps. We are going to focus on user created groups to help you begin understanding the overall process, settings, and permissions.
What Can I Do With Google Groups?
- Hold online discussions about a specific subject
- Host a question and answer forum where customers answer and rate each others’ questions about your company’s product
- Track and manage support requests from co-workers or customers
- Organize meetings, conferences, or social events among members of a group
- Read group posts through email, the online forum, or both
How Do I Access Google Groups?
Navigate to 'Groups' in the Universal Navigation bar. This will take you to the Google Groups home screen.
From the homescreen, you will be able to access groups you are a part of, create groups, and browse groups.
What are The Different Group Types?
There are four different group types. These types include, Email list, Web forum, Q & A forum, and Collaborative Inbox.
- Email List: A mailing list that will allow you to email a group of individuals under one email address.
- Web Forum: An online discussion forum used to post about topics specific to the group. These posts can include announcements, trends, or questions.
- Q & A Forum: An online discussion forum specifically targeted toward questions. The Q & A forum will allow users to easily monitor questions for follow up and resolution.
- Collaborative Inbox: We have all grown fond of the collaborative abilities of Google Documents. Now, with the Collaborative Inbox, users have collaborative abilities such as assigning topics, and volunteering to take topics for resolution.
What are The Different Group Roles?
There are three different roles in Google Groups. These include Owner, Manager, and Member. Users also have to ability to create unique roles specific to a particular group.
- Owner: User has the highest permission within the group. Owners have the ability to set permissions for other users and set the permissions for the work flow of the group.
- Manager: Managers are second in rank to Owners. Managers often assume the role as group moderator to ensure effective work flows. The Manager will traditionally have the ability to set permissions for the users and work flows within the group but not permissions on the group settings.
- Member: Members are all other users that are not Owners or Managers. Members can be directly added to a group or invited to the group.
New Features of Google Groups
This week we are going to highlight all the new features Google Groups has to offer. Finally, we will end this week with some use cases and best practices to ensure a well-rounded understanding of Google Groups and the different ways you can use this application.
There are nine new features we will be discussing this week. These topics include:
1. Simplified Home Screen
2. A New Forum View
3. Advanced Permission Settings
5. Improved Search
6. Topic Filtering
7. Question and Answer Groups
8. Taking and Assigning Topics
9. Collaborative Inbox
Moving Forward with Google Groups
Now that you have had a brief introduction to Google Groups and the new features, be sure to visit our blog throughout the week to see demonstrations and examples of the new features. Think of this as a FREE training course to help you become an expert with Google Groups. By Friday, you will be sure to find useful ways to incorporate Google Groups in your own business or organization.
Feel free to leave us some comments in the section below if you have specific questions about Google Groups. Also, be sure to share this with other users that may find this topic useful!
Labels: collaborative inbox, Email list, google groups, group types, new features, Q and A Forum, web Forum