Groups administrator FAQ

Using groups with Google Workspace

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Overview

Who can create groups?

Administrators with the Groups privilege can create groups.

If you turn on Groups for Business, you can also grant users permissions to create groups. For details: Set organization-wide policies for using groups.

How and where do I create a group?

There are several ways to create groups for use in Google Workspace.

In a few cases, where you create a group might limit what it can be used for:

  • Communication and collaboration groups (mailing lists, Collaborative Inboxes) can be created in any location.
  • Groups created anywhere can also be used for policies in the Google Cloud Platform (GCP).
  • Configuration groups and dynamic groups must be created either in the Admin console or using the API.

The following table shows where different types of groups can be created.

Where you create a group Email list, sharing, calendar invites Collaborative Inbox or  moderated group Configuration group Dynamic group GCP IAM policies
Admin console 
Homeand thenGroups
✔*
Directory API ✔*  
Cloud Identity API ✔*  
Google Groups * ✔*    
Google Cloud Console ✔*    
Synced from LDAP or Active Directory server ✔*  

Requires turning on Groups for Business.

Can I add people outside my Google Workspace account to groups?

Yes. As an admin, you can add external vendors, clients, customers, and others to your groups. You can do this in the Google Admin console. Other people can add external members to groups if you allow external members in the Groups for Business sharing settings

Do groups appear on a user’s Contacts page?

Yes, but only after a user sends a message to the group. Groups a user has sent messages to appear under All Contacts. 

Learn more: What can you do with Google Contacts?

How do groups differ from the groups feature in Google Contacts?

Both Groups and Google Contacts make it easy to email groups of people using mailing lists. The difference is that you can’t share mailing lists you create in Contacts. Contact mailing lists are for individual use. Groups have email addresses that can be used by anyone.

Learn more: What can you do with Google Contacts?

Can messages to a group be moderated?

Yes, you can review messages before allowing them to be posted to the group.

For details: Approve or block new messages

Can I migrate groups from my existing mail system?

Yes, you can use Google Cloud Directory Sync (GCDS) to synchronize groups (mailing lists) from your LDAP server to Google Workspace.

For details: Sync groups from your LDAP or Active Directory server

Is there an API for creating and managing groups?

Yes, you can use the Google Workspace Admin SDK Directory API and Groups Settings API to create and manage groups.

For details: Manage groups using APIs

Groups for Business

What is Google Groups for Business?

Groups for Business is a core service in your Admin console that controls how your organization’s groups can be used in the Google Groups user app at groups.google.com.

For details: What you get with Groups for Business

Which editions have the Google Groups for Business service?

Google Groups for Business is available for all editions of Google Workspace, including the legacy free edition of G Suite. 

The legacy free edition of G Suite does not allow you to:

  • Post messages in Groups 
  • Moderate group messages
  • Save group messages in a conversation history
How does the Groups for Business service differ from the free version of Groups?

Here are the primary differences for Groups for Business:

  • Sharing options—As an administrator, you can set sharing options for the Groups for Business service to limit what users can do. For example, you can prevent users from adding members who are outside their organization and prevent people outside their organization from sending email to groups.
  • Groups directory—The Groups for Business service includes a company Groups directory, which lists only the groups for your organization.
  • APIs—APIs are only available for Google Workspace customers.
How is the Groups for Business service different from the groups feature in Contacts?

Contact groups in Google Contacts are simply lists of email addresses that let users quickly enter multiple addresses at once in their email messages, meeting invitations, and so on. Although groups that users create using Groups for Business are also lists of email addresses, they have their own group email address, so anyone with permission can send messages to that address. 

Also, users can share content—such as Google documents and sites—with group addresses. And, unlike contact groups, the Groups for Business service includes advanced features, such as saving messages in a conversation history and moderation controls.

How do groups created in the Admin console differ from groups created in the Google Groups app?

Groups created in Admin console can be used as:

  • Mailing lists
  • Collaborative Inboxes*
  • Configuration groups
  • Dynamic groups

Groups created in the Google Groups app can be used as:

  • Mailing lists*
  • Collaborative Inboxes*

Requires turning on Groups for Business.

For details: See where admins manage internal groups

Will ads appear in Google Groups?

No.

What languages does Google Groups support?

For administrators, the Admin console, where you access the Groups for Business service and the Groups list, is currently available in 18 languages.

For all users, the Google Groups app (groups.google.com) currently can be displayed in 38 languages. Group owners and managers can set a specific language for system-generated text included in group email messages.

For details: Set the group email language

What happens if I turn Groups for Business on or off?
Turning the Groups for Business service on vs. off controls whether users have access to your organization's internal groups at their Google Groups app--available in their App launcher "" and at groups.google.com. Turning on Groups for Business also adds features such as for moderated conversations and Collaborative Inboxes. 

For details: What you get with Groups for Business

Can I turn on Groups for Business for specific users?

Yes. Follow steps at Turn Groups for Business on or off

Can I use Groups for Business without turning on the Gmail service?

Yes. If your organization doesn’t use Gmail, and your Groups for Business settings allow, your users can still:

  • Send and receive messages to the group using other email clients, such as Microsoft Outlook 
  • Post messages in the Google Groups app
  • Share content, such as Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Calendar, and videos, with group addresses

However, using Groups with Gmail offers several benefits. For example, you can set up rules and filters in Groups to help organize your Gmail inbox.

Controls

Can I control how people in my organization use groups?

Yes. As an administrator, you retain full control over the groups in your organization. You can prevent users from adding external members to their groups, edit or delete users’ groups, or even prevent users from creating their own groups.

For details: Options for limiting group access & activity

Can I enforce a user’s membership in a group?

You can control whether users can add themselves to a specific group. But you can’t prevent users from removing themselves from groups, unless you add all of your organization's employees to a group as a single member.

For details: Add all your users to a group (company group)

To ensure that users remain members of specific groups (for example, an “all employees” group), maintain the group on an LDAP server, and periodically synchronize those groups with Google Workspace.

For details: Sync groups from your LDAP or Active Directory server

Are messages posted by administrators ever moderated?

No. Any messages that an administrator sends to a moderated group are not moderated, regardless of whether the administrator is a member of that group. This policy also applies to moderated groups created by other administrators.

The only exceptions are messages marked as spam. The system does not send these messages.

What happens if a group owner leaves the company?

The group continues to work normally. As an administrator, you can manage the group or assign ownership to another user.

For details: Assign roles to a group’s members

Multiple domains

Can I create a group address in any of my organization’s domains?

Yes. If your Google Workspace account has multiple domains, you can choose which domain to use for the group’s email address when you create the group.

For details: Add multiple domains or domain aliases

Can a group have members from multiple domains?

Yes. If your Google Workspace account has multiple domains, you can mix and match members from different domains in a single group.

For details: Add multiple domains or domain aliases

Can users in all of my domains use Google Groups?

Yes, if your Google Workspace account has multiple domains and you turn on Groups for Business, users in all of your domains can use the Google Groups app.

For details: Add multiple domains or domain aliases

Limits

Are there limits to group memberships or messages sent to groups?

Yes. To fight spam and email abuse, Google imposes limits including the maximum number of:

  • Groups per owner
  • Messages sent to a group within a short time period
  • Messages sent at once to external group members

For details: Understand Groups policies and limits

Is there a limit to the number of groups a user can create?

There’s no limit, but a user can be the owner of at most 1,000 groups. If a user creates a group, that user is automatically that group’s owner. However, users can edit their groups to remove their ownership at any time, so it’s possible for a user to create any number of groups. 

For details: Understand Groups policies and limits

What is the maximum number of members a group can have?

Groups in Google Workspace editions can have an unlimited number of members. 

Is there a size limit for messages sent to a group?

Yes, the maximum size limit for messages sent to a group is 25 MB, including attachments (the normal Gmail limit).

Are there any types of messages I can’t send to a group?

You can’t send or forward non-delivery receipts (NDRs), also called “bounce messages,” to a group. Messages that resemble NDRs are also not permitted.

Does the Service Level Agreement apply to Google Groups?

Yes, the Google Workspace Service Level Agreement applies to the Groups component of your Google Workspace service.

Security

How secure are user-managed groups?

With Groups for Business, you and users can restrict access to and activity in user-managed groups. For example, as an administrator, you can prevent users from adding external users to their groups, and you can edit or delete any groups that users create.

For details: Options for limiting group access & activity

Are group conversation histories accessible to the outside world?

With Groups for Business, you can set sharing options to prevent people outside your organization from accessing any of your organization’s groups, including their conversation histories. Or, if you do allow outside access, group owners and managers can still prevent outside access to their specific groups’ conversation histories.

For details: Set organization-wide policies for using groups

If I use groups, will I get more spam?

You have the option of allowing people outside your organization to send messages to a group. If a malicious sender knows that group’s address, members of the group might receive more spam. We strongly recommend that you carefully consider the options you choose for any groups you create.

To improve spam filtering for a specific group, you can change the group’s spam message handling settings. For details: Update a group’s settings

If I send a meeting invitation to a group, can I see all group members in the invitation?

If you invite a group to a meeting, all of the group’s members appear in the invitation on your calendar only if you have the appropriate access permissions for that group. This limitation upholds the privacy settings for a group, and it applies to both users and administrators.

For details: Invite groups to calendar events

Group & message retention

How long are email messages kept in a group’ conversation history?

A group’s conversation history never expires, so messages remain in there until the group is deleted.

Does setting an email retention period delete group messages after that time?

No. The email retention feature doesn’t affect messages in a group’s conversation history. Messages remain in the history until the group is deleted.

What happens to my groups if I disable Groups for Business?

If you disable Groups for Business, all the groups that you or your users created remain active, but the groups won't have any of the advanced features available with the Groups for Business service. If you re-enable Groups for Business, all the groups’ settings are restored.

For details: Turn Groups for Business on or off

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