Updated: January 26, 2020
Google Groups provides a convenient way for your users to send messages to groups of people they frequently contact. A group contains the email addresses of its members, so users can send a message to all the group's members using the single address for the group.
2013. Google Groups adds features for collaboration and customer support
Just before the closure of Google Reader, Google has rolled out unexpected update for its another service - Google Groups. Yes, this forum / mailing list is still alive and even updating. And this despite that in Google Apps this service competes directly with Google+, which Google offers to use as an internal social network. Well, it's useless to try to understand the logic of Google. But let's get back to the update, which is called Collaborative Inbox. Now, in Google Groups you can create a group that will operate as a support forum / task list. Users will be able to post questions/tasks, administrator can assign task owners and when task is complete - change its status to Closed. In addition, you can assign an email-address for the group (for example, firstname.lastname@example.org) and all customer emails to this address will be automatically converted to topics in this group. And the task owner will be able to post the response via email directly from the Groups interface. In addition, the update brings new tools for moderation and topic organizing. In particular, administrator can now create tags that users can use to organize discussions/tasks. Also administrator can flexibly assign user roles: group owners, managers and members. Besides, you can create email autoresponders for external customers. Recall, all these changes apply only to Google Groups in the Google Apps for Business.
2010. Socialtext 4.0 wisely copies Google Groups
Socialtext has released version 4.0 of its enterprise social platform, and the main new feature is the ability to create groups. At first glance it seems that it's a little feature, and the new release is issued only for PR. However, all genious is simple, and Socialtext - is one of those companies that earn good money on these things. Groups - online spaces for communication and collaboration - are important for enterprise. These may be department-centric spaces, or workspaces for project teams, or communities of interest (yes, they are also useful for business, as they bring staff together). But how easy it is to create an online group space, for example, in Sharepoint? It's complicated enough for not creating it at all. Another example - Google Groups, which have recently become the part of Google Apps. In couple of clicks you can create a group, set permissions, to invite the co-workers. The same is with Socialtext 4.0, but instead of discussions (that are used in Google Groups) it uses microblogging service. Any employee can create a group. The group has a front page with the description, list of participants and activity stream. Each group has the microblog, where members can add messages, and workspaces with wiki, spreadsheets and files. Groups can be public, private and invisible. You can access groups in browser, the desktop client or mobile device (iPhone, Android, Blackberry). Socialtext provides the free SaaS version for 50 users.
2009. Google Groups join Google Apps
Finally Google has made this simple and logical move - Google Groups have been added to its online suite of business applications. Google Groups allow you to create workspaces for departments or projects that include wiki, discussions and files. And also Google Groups allow you to quickly provide access to the various elements in Google Apps (documents, calendars, videos, sites) to certain group of employees. And when the user is excluded from the group, he loses access to all the associated resources. Groups in Google Apps can be created either by the administrator or users themselves, if the administrator has allowed this. The group owner set up access rules, public access options, invites participants and moderate their actions. The bad news is that Google Groups are only available in paid Premier and Education versions. Besides, though Google Groups are now officially business-ready, Google hasn't corrected some unpleasant bugs. For example: - Horrible support for pictures in Pages - Restrictions on the comment size - Outdated format of discussions - mailing lists - No folders in Files section