Your Ultimate Guide to Google Groups Email

Your Ultimate Guide to Google Groups Email

Google Groups is a great alternative to regular email for staying in contacts with groups of people through email lists. While your emails may still spiral out of control, at least you have the ability to manage group conversations in a single place, accessed through a dedicated interface. 

catherine heath

September 29, 2023

9 mins read

Email is a fantastic tool but you’ll quickly run across limitations when trying to use it for group email. Email threads become messy and unmanageable as multiple people reply and forward the email. As a way to give email a super power, Google Groups has been designed to function as group email (among its other use cases) with a range of features for your mailing list. 

Google Groups for shared email is particularly appealing because you get to remain within Google’s suite of products. Although it doesn’t work in Gmail, it uses the Google Groups interface to manage a group of recipients without having to manually add each email address to the email each time. That being said, you can choose to receive email updates for your messages in Gmail, as well as replying to threads, allowing users to use Gmail if they prefer. 

There are two ways you can construct a Google group: one is through the Google Groups platform and the other is directly through Gmail. When you choose the Google Groups option, you have access to more features such as a Q&A forum or collaborative inbox. 

Google Groups has been created as a powerful way to facilitate group discussion without the hassle of long, messy email threads. 

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What are Google Groups email groups? 

Also known as an email distribution list, a Google Groups email group is a group of people who are contacted using a shared email address. For example, you might want to send updates to everyone in a team. For this purpose, Google Groups is ideal because you can simply create a group and send email to everyone in the group. 

Google Groups can be used for multiple purposes but one of the most popular is as an email distribution list. Because of the way Google Groups was designed, it’s useful for sending mass messages but less suitable as a way of collaborating on email. Google Groups’s collaborative inbox feature goes some way towards addressing these challenges. You can turn this on in the group’s settings. 

When you create your Google Group, you have the option to name your group and choose a unique email address that anyone will be able to use to send messages to the group. To use a custom domain, this requires a paid Google Workspace account. 

So like the name suggests, Google Groups is suitable for groups of users who want to send messages centering around particular discussion topics. 

The benefits of a Google Group email list

Group moderation

A Google Groups email list is superior to using email alone as it allows for group moderation for the group members. You can add and remove users from the Google group, deciding who can post and reviewing posts that have been submitted. This gives you more control of the content that is posted in your email list. 

Organizing conversations

In an ordinary email inbox, your group conversations can easily get lost and there’s no way to search for a group email thread in your Gmail inbox. With Google Groups, you can navigate to your group and view all the conversations that have ever been conducted, as well as mark your favorites for later use. 

Ability to use Collaborative Inbox

Even though Google Groups is great as an email list, some teams want to use their group to collaborate on emails that are sent to the mailing list with unique features such as assigning conversations and marking as complete. This allows groups of users to read and respond to emails without stepping on each other’s toes through the group email account. 

Can I have email groups in Gmail?

If you prefer to stay within Gmail, you can also create an email group using the labels function. Instead of having to manually add each email address to a group email, you can simply select your label. Many people prefer this as a way of sending mass email, because you can also ensure you don’t miss out on any recipients. 

A Gmail group is different to a Google Group, because with a Google Group everyone has access to a single shared inbox (although they can choose to receive updates in Gmail). With a Gmail group, everyone receives the email separately and there is no way to collaborate on email effectively. 

In Gmail, you can’t send your emails to a single, shared email. Gmail groups are just a way for you to save time and more easily send mass emails to your recipients. You will need to reply to and forward emails in the normal way. Google Groups keeps your discussions more organized around different topics and it’s easier to access the archive. 

So Gmail groups are not true ‘groups’, but simply email addresses organized under a particular label. 

How do I create a group email in Gmail?

If you want to go ahead and create a group email in Gmail, make sure you are logged into the Gmail account you want to use. You will also need to ensure that you have the email address of everyone you want to include in your group saved within your Contacts. 

Follow these steps: 

  • Select the Google Apps icon (nine dots) in the top right-hand corner and go to Contacts. 

Go to Google Apps

  • Select the checkbox next to each contact you want to add to your group email. 
  • Select the Manage Labels icon at the top of the list of contacts. 
  • A dropdown will open and you will be able to select Create Label. 

Your Ultimate Guide to Google Groups Email

  • On the next popup, enter your label name and click Save. 
  • The new label will then appear on the left-hand side of your Contacts page. 

You will then be able to send group emails to your new group when using Gmail, as long as you choose this label when sending your new emails. 

How do I access email groups in Gmail?

The whole reason that you’ve created your Gmail email groups is so you can send group emails to a number of recipients at a time. This is in contrast to manually selecting each recipient from your contact book every time you want to send a group email. 

Gmail offers a handy way to access your Gmail groups once you have created them in Contacts. It’s as easy as selecting one of your contacts when composing your new email. 

If you want to access your previously saved groups in Gmail, make sure you have Gmail open and that you are logged in. 

Follow these steps: 

  • Compose a new message using the top left-hand button labeled Compose. 
  • This will open the Compose window, where you will be able to enter your recipient. 
  • Start typing the name of your group in the To field.
  • A drop-down list will open from which you will be able to select your group. 
  • Compose your message as normal and then click Send to your email list. 

If you want to edit the members of your list or the name of your list, then you will need to head back to your Contacts. 

What is the difference between Google Groups and Gmail groups?

Creating groups in Google Groups and Gmail follows an entirely different process, and both platforms were set up with unique purposes for their groups. First and foremost, Gmail is an email client and offers email lists to speed up the process of sending mass emails. There’s nothing in the way of extra features for the group members to collaborate. 

Google Groups, on the other hand, is all about groups, and creating email lists is just one way you can make the most of Google Groups. In Google Groups, when you create your email list, everyone in the group is contacted through a shared email address, which can even be customized for your domain. 

Your special Google Group records all the discussions ever had by members of the group, making searching the archives an easy process. Members of the group can have different roles to help simplify the process of managing the group. In Gmail, there is no easy way of distinguishing your group conversations from other emails. 

The biggest difference between Google Groups and Gmail is that each was created for distinct purposes, although there is much overlap between them. 

How do I create a Google Group in Gmail?

It’s not possible to create a Google Group in Gmail – you essentially have to create an email list in your Contacts page if you want to create a group of recipients. Google Groups and Gmail are separate apps, although they can be linked if you change your settings to receive email updates in Gmail from your Google Group. 

All in all, there are no email collaboration features within Gmail if you are using a Google Group. Google Groups and Gmail are linked together in the sense that you have access to your existing contacts when creating Google groups. 

How do I create a Google distribution group?

If you want to create a Google distribution group, you need to head over to Google Groups. An email distribution group is the same as setting up any other kind of Google Group, so make sure you have the email address of everyone you want to include. 

Follow these steps: 

create google group

  • Enter your group name, unique group email and group description in the fields available. 
  • You then click Next and you can choose the privacy settings of your group. 
  • Choose who can search for the group, who can join the group, who can view conversations and who can post. 
  • Click Next, and then you will be taken to the next screen where you can invite members. 
  • You can enter new email addresses, or start typing and choose from suggested contacts who are already in your address book. 
  • Include an invitation message and select Create group. 
  • Complete the captcha and select Create group again. 
  • This will open a screen that contains a summary of your new group, from where you can then select Go to group. 
  • As the administrator, you will receive an email alerting you that a new group has been created. 

You can start a new conversation in the group panel to begin using your new Google group. 

What is a Google Group email address?

A Google group’s email address is a shared email address that you use to send messages to the group. If you are using a free Google account, then your address will be something along the lines of NAME @googlegroups.com. If you pay for a domain, then you can use a custom domain for your Google Group email address, such as HELP@COMPANY.com. 

The Google Group email address is useful because you can use it to manage your group email. You can nominate managers who will be able to manage the group email and reply to messages. Messages from the group can come from the shared email address instead of being sent by an individual. 

If someone emails the Google Group email address, everyone who is subscribed to the group will receive the same message. This message will appear in your Google group, and also sent via email to anyone who is subscribed to receive updates.

In this way, a Google Group email address is a great way to stay in touch with anyone who is a member of your group. 

How do I use a Gmail mailing list?

You may prefer to use a Gmail mailing list over Google Groups because it is designed more for personal use. There is no dedicated inbox to managing your group messages, and instead everything is sent and received within Gmail. 

Gmail works perfectly well if you are only sending a few messages, for example within a small team or trying to stay in touch with a select group of customers. If you want to facilitate something along the lines of more group discussions, think about transitioning over to Google Groups. 

One of the limitations of a Gmail mailing list is there is no way to search for all conversations within your group. The advantage of a Google group in this area is all your conversations are kept within one place, archived for later use if you need them. Another advantage of Google Groups is the ability to mark important conversations which you can easily access. 

Use a Gmail mailing list with a group label for simple conversations that don’t require much interaction from your recipients. 

How do I access Google Groups? 

Once you’ve created your Google Group email list, it’s easy enough to find on the Google Groups dashboard. Make sure you’re logged into Google and head over to Google Groups. 

Follow these steps: 

  • You should automatically be taken to My Groups.
  • If not, select My Groups or Recent Groups from the menu on the left-hand side. 
  • You should see a list of all your groups displayed on the right-hand panel. 
  • You will see the name, email address and description in the first column. 
  • In the second column, you will see the date that you joined. 
  • In the third column, you will see your subscription type. 
  • To view any group, select it from the list. 
  • You will be taken to the group where you’ll be able to see all past conversations saved within the group. 

All members of a group can post to a group and take part in conversations. 

Wrapping up

Google Groups is a great alternative to regular email for staying in contacts with groups of people through email lists. While your emails may still spiral out of control, at least you have the ability to manage group conversations in a single place, accessed through a dedicated interface. 

Google Groups is quite versatile but if you want an upgrade, consider our own tool, Keeping. Keeping was designed to work within Gmail to help your team of customer support agents help customers collaboratively. You have all the usual features of email along with features like analytics and automation. 

Using email to stay in touch is still essential, as it allows people to review messages at their leisure and encourages more thoughtful responses. Group discussions and company updates are all possible with Google Groups, which is also free and thus making it accessible to smaller teams. 

catherine heath

Catherine is a content writer and community builder for creative and ethical companies. She often writes case studies, help documentation and articles about customer support. Her writing has helped businesses to attract curious audiences and transform them into loyal advocates. You can find more of her work at https://awaywithwords.co.

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