Inviting Google Groups to Calendar Events

It is likely that your organization’s Google Apps Administrator has created mailing lists that are commonly used for sending emails, sharing documents, or sending meeting invitations to a group of individuals that belong to a particular department, project team, branch location, etc. These email lists are groups created in Google Apps to include a specified set of members with different roles, and their own email address. The greatest benefit inviting the group email address to a calendar event is obvious - you bypass the need to type out each individual’s email address in the guest list.

In this blog post, we will take a deep look into the relationship between Google Groups and Google Calendar invitations, so you can understand what behavior to expect when groups are added as guests for an event. The following topics will be reviewed:

Inviting Groups to Events

When you invite the group, you don’t have to worry about missing anyone since each member of the group will receive an invitation. Sending event invitations to Google Groups becomes particularly useful when you schedule meetings like a “Weekly Sync” for the training team or a “Management Breakfast” for the managers in your company.
Google announced an update last week that ensures guest lists and calendars will update as members are added to or removed from a group. This feature update, for Google Apps for Business, Education and Government users, will affect invitations sent to groups after the update rolls out to your domain (Rapid Release track on November 5, 2013 and Scheduled Release track a week later). For more information, check out the Google Apps Release Calendar here.

Scenario: Auto-updating Groups
You are the organizer for an upcoming breakfast meeting that you scheduled for all managers in your company, using the email address. When a new member of management starts with your company later this week, a Google Apps Administrator will add her to the “Management” group in the Google Apps Admin Console.
Shortly after she is added to the group, her name will be listed in the guest list of your “Management Breakfast” meeting. She will receive an invitation via email for the “Management Breakfast,” as well as any other future meetings that the Management group was invited to after Google's update rolled out. The event will also appear on her Google Calendar, where she also can RSVP.
Likewise, if a manager is removed from the “Management” group later this week, the “Management Breakfast” meeting will be removed from his or her calendar and their name will not appear under the “Management” group in the guest list.

For additional details, check out Google’s Administration support page for inviting groups to calendar events.

View Group Members’ Responses

On the event details page, an event organizer can click the down arrow next to the group name in the guest list to view the number of members in the group, as well as each members’ name and his or her response to the invitation. This is the case ONLY if the meeting organizer has permission to view the group’s member list.
If the meeting organizer does not have permission to view the members of the group, each member of the group that is invited to the event can manually add the event to their calendar (option in the email invitation), but cannot send an RSVP of Yes, No or Maybe. Therefore, the meeting organizer will not receive individual replies - Accepted, Tentatively Accepted or Declined - from group members.

An Administrator can manage the settings for a group. If you are a meeting organizer and cannot view names of group members in the guest list, you can request that your organization’s Google Apps Administrator adjust the group’s access permissions so that you are included in the set of users allowed to “View Members” of the group.

Best practices for Creating Email Lists

Email lists are typically set up so that people inside or outside your company can contact a group of team members using a single email address. Administrators can create groups in the Admin Console or from the Google Groups application if Google Groups for Business is enabled. If enabled, Admins can determine who can create new Google Groups - anyone in the domain or admins only.

Group Roles
If Google Groups for Business is enabled for your organization, the user who creates a group is automatically the owner. Each person an owner adds to the group will have different access privileges that vary depending on their role in the group:

Access Permissions
Group access settings can be configured so that each group will behave the way your organization needs it to. Access permissions determine who can view the members list and who can send emails to the group.

Send Messages to the Group
For an email list to function properly for users who schedule meetings for groups to which they do not belong, everyone in your organization and all group members should have permission to send messages (email) the group. It is optional to also adjust access permissions to allow people outside your organization to email the group, which would be beneficial for a group like, used by people outside your company to contact your internal customer service team for support on your services or products.

View Members List
All members of the group and all organization members should also have permission to view the members of the group. This ensures that individuals at your company who do not belong to a specific group will still be able to view each group member’s name and response to a meeting invitation when they organize an event for the group. Also, if a meeting organizer has permission to view the group’s members, meetings will auto-update as groups change and they can receive individual RSVP’s from each group member.

Follow the step-by-step instructions below to create a group with the recommended access settings described above.

How to create a Group in the Admin Console

1. Navigate to and sign in to the Google Apps Admin Console
2. Select the “Groups” control
3. Click on the “Create Group” icon in the top, right corner
4. Enter a Group Name (e.g. Training Team, Management, Human Resources)
5. Enter a Group email address and then select a domain from the drop-down list, if applicable
6. Add a Group description (optional)
7. Choose the “Team” Access level setting and select the box to “Also allow anyone on the Internet to post messages” if you want to allow people outside your domain to email the group

The “Team” access level will apply the following access permissions to membership roles:
8. If you wish to create a Group that includes everyone in your organization, check the box next to “Add all users in this domain to this group”
9. Click “Create new group”
10. In the “Add Members” field, begin entering users you wish to add to the group as members or owners
11. Select a group role - Manager or Member - for the individual(s) added to the group in Step 10, and click “Add” when completed

Your group has been created!

For more infomation on Google Groups for business check out our previous posts, Introduction to the New Google Groups for Business and Best Practices in Google Groups. If you are interested in scheduling Google Groups or Google Apps Administrator training for your organization, please visit the Change Management & Training section of our website.

Labels: , , , , ,