Here's what G Suite administrators need to know about recent and upcoming welcome changes to Google Groups.
If your organization uses G Suite, Google Groups can make several tasks simpler. Each group has a unique email address you use when you want an action to apply to everyone in the group. You can email to communicate with the group, invite the group address to schedule a Google Calendar event, or share a file or a folder with the group address on Google Drive to collaborate on content.
SEE: Google Drive: Tips and tricks for business professionals (Tech Pro Research)
Google announced several improvements to Groups between late 2018 and mid-2019. Administrators that have active Groups may want to review Groups settings. Here's what G Suite administrators need to know about Google Groups.
How to configure Google Groups
Before users can use Google Groups, a G Suite administrator must take certain steps. The administrator can choose to configure either Admin Console Groups or Groups For Business. Groups for Business offers more features and flexibility, while Admin console Groups provides simple sharing and administrative controls (Figure A).
With Admin console Groups, a G Suite administrator can create and manage Groups that allow everyone in the group to easily email everyone else in the group, share content on Google Drive with a group, and invite everyone in the group to an event. The G Suite administrator is able to manage who can access content, as well as who may manage membership. All of this can be adjusted in G Suite Admin console configuration controls.
Google Groups for Business allows people in your organization to create and manage their own Groups. Once a G Suite administrator enables the Groups for Business service, people can create additional types of Groups, such as a collaborative inbox or a forum. Groups for Business also gives people with permission the ability to moderate messages and search group content.
If companies plan to use Google Groups solely to communicate with sets of people, simplify calendar invitations, and share content, then Admin console Groups will work well. If you're in a large enough organization, however, G Suite administrators may want to upgrade to Groups for Business to enable other people in the organization to create and manage Groups. After Groups for Business is enabled, a G Suite administrator may still access and adjust many Group settings from the Admin console.
Refinements to Admin console Groups
Google enabled access to commonly used Group controls within the G Suite Admin console in December 2018. These settings provide a cleanly designed grid with checkboxes to allow an administrator to adjust Group access and membership permissions (Figure B).
A March 2019 update added refinements to the Admin console Groups navigation elements in order to make Group management and controls easier to adjust.
Streamlined settings in Groups for Business
Google announced in February 2019 that streamlined settings for Groups for Business will arrive on May 6, 2019. The changes will simplify the system from 20 settings to three roles and remove a few options. (Figure C).
The settings simplify permissions that allow people to manage members, moderate content, and moderate metadata. The sheer number of Groups settings made it easy for an administrator to overlook an adjustment or to accept default Groups settings when confronted with so many choices.
If G Suite administrators are reading this before or around May 2019, and you use Groups for Business, you may want to review your settings to understand the changes. Google provides an overview page ("Changes to Groups settings on May 6, 2019") that includes a link to a Group Settings worksheet. The page details exactly how the team intends to simplify the system from 20 settings to three roles, while the worksheet helps identify potential permissions to change.
SEE: Google Cloud Platform: An insider's guide (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
Google cautions that "some members might gain or lose permissions unexpectedly." G Suite administrators and group owners will want to be prepared to adjust Groups for Business settings appropriately. Google also provides a sample message that G Suite administrators might send to group owners.
If you're a G Suite administrator, which Google Groups do you use: Admin console Groups or Groups for Business? If you use either of these, what do you think of the recent refinements to settings in Admin console Groups or the streamlined settings for Groups for Business? Let me know either in the comments or on Twitter (@awolber).
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