About Google Groups

This article is for administrators. To manage your own groups, visit the Google Groups help.

Google Groups includes 2 services that help people communicate and collaborate: 

The settings of these 2 services control what users in your organization can do in Google Groups, groups.google.com.

The user-facing interface for both services is simply referred to as Google Groups.

Note: Groups has a fresh look and updated controls. Learn more about the new Groups release.

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About the 2 Groups services

Groups for Business (Google Workspace core service)

Google Groups for Business is a Google Workspace core service. As an administrator, you control your organization's settings for this service in the Google Admin console. Groups for Business settings and your Google Workspace license type determine what your organization can do in the Google Groups interface (groups.google.com).

Groups for Business turned on

If Groups for Business is on and you have any Google Workspace license:

If Groups for Business is on and you have a G Suite Basic license or higher:

Groups for Business turned off

If Groups for Business is off:

  • Your organization doesn't have access to the Google Groups interface, groups.google.com.
  • You can’t use Collaborative Inboxes in your organization, because they require the Google Groups interface.
  • Non-administrators can’t create their own groups in your organization. 
  • As an administrator, you can still create and manage email list groups in the Admin console, the Directory API, or Google Cloud Directory Sync.
  • Users in your organization might be able to view external groups from their organization accounts. Access depends on whether the Google Groups additional service is off or on.

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Google Groups (additional Google service)
Groups logo

Google Groups is an additional Google service.

This service controls whether users can access outside groups from their organization accounts on Google Groups (groups.google.com). Outside groups are any groups outside of your organization, including consumer groups. By default, the Groups additional service is on, but you can turn it off if necessary.

  • On—Users in your organization can access outside groups from their organization accounts.

  • Off—Users in your organization only get to your organization's groups when they're signed in to their organization accounts.

Note: Users can always get to outside groups from accounts outside of your organization.

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What administrators can do with Groups

Control who can create groups

If Groups for Business is on, you can set sharing options for your entire organization:

  • Organization-only—Let anyone in your organization create and manage groups
  • Public—Let anyone on the web participate in your organization's groups
  • Admin only—Lock down groups so that only administrators can create groups

Learn about sharing options.

In addition, you can turn on content moderation, manage member roles, and set group permissions. Learn about content moderation and member roles.

Use groups to collaborate

Using groups, you can:

Mailing list groups
Collaborative inbox groups
  • Set up groups that are Collaborative Inboxes—Assign and track requests or support tickets from group members, coworkers, or customers. To use Collaborative Inboxes in your organization, you need to turn on Groups for Business.
Use groups to turn on or configure services

The following table shows what you can do with Groups as a Groups administrator.

Task Description
Manage all your groups You can manage all your organization's groups in the Admin console and the Directory API. Learn how to manage groups.
Create groups that include all users in your organization Use these groups to send organization-wide email announcements. Learn how to create organization-wide groups.
Choose sharing settings Decide who can view or join groups and control whether users can create their own groups in your organization. Learn about Groups for Business sharing settings.
Use a group to turn on or configure Google Workspace services To turn on a service, such as Drive, for users in different organizational units, create a group for those users. Then turn on the service for the group. Learn about turning on services using a group.
Migrate or sync mailing lists from your LDAP server If you have an LDAP server for your organization, you can migrate or sync data on that server with Google Groups. Learn about migrating mailing lists.

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Where you create groups matters

Groups created in the Admin console, the Directory API, and Google Cloud Directory Sync can be used as any type of group.

Groups created in Google Groups (groups.google.com) can be used only as communication and collaboration groups.

The following table shows the types of groups you can create, where you create them, and whether they require Groups for Business.

Interface where you create groups in your organization Access & configuration groups Mailing-list-only groups Collaborative Inboxes (internal & external)
Admin console: Homeand thenGroups Yes Yes Yes. However, after you create these groups in the Admin console, you need to select the group type in Google Groups (groups.google.com). That interface is available only if Groups for Business is On.
Yes Yes Yes. However, to use the features in Google Groups (groups.google.com), Groups for Business must be On.
Google Groups, groups.google.com No Yes Yes. For groups inside your organization, Groups for Business must be On.
Groups in Google Cloud Platform Console No No Yes. For groups inside your organization, Groups for Business must be On.
Navigating the Groups interfaces

The following table describes the user interfaces for Google Groups.

Interface Used by Description

The Groups list in the Admin console:

Appsand thenGroups

Administrators Shows all groups in your organization. You can create, view, and manage your groups via the Groups list. Regardless of Google Groups service settings, you can always view the Groups list in the Admin console. However, you can't view or send messages to the group from the Admin console.

Groups added through Google Cloud Directory Sync appear on this list, but are read-only; they can’t be changed via the Admin console.

Groups for Business settings in the Admin console:

Appsand thenGoogle Workspaceand thenGroups for Business

Administrators

Controls settings for your organization's groups in the Google Groups interface, groups.google.com

As an administrator, you control advanced features by turning Groups for Business off or on.

Google Groups additional service settings in the Admin console:

Appsand thenAdditional Google servicesand thenGoogle Groups

 

Administrators

Controls access to groups outside your organization from accounts inside your organization. If the additional service is off, users can't access outside groups when they're logged in to their organization accounts.

By default, the Google Groups additional service is on, but you can turn it off if necessary.

Google Groups, groups.google.com

Administrators, users, and anyone on the web

Provides access to groups inside and outside your organization. Group visibility depends on:

  • Your organization's settings for Groups for Business and the Google Groups additional service. 
  • Each group's visibility settings.
  • The user's account. Users can always get to outside groups from accounts outside your organization. 

If Groups for Business is on

Overview
Groups for Business turned on

If Groups for Business is on, and you have a G Suite Basic license or higher, you can:

  • Use the Google Groups interface, groups.google.com
  • Create groups with advanced features, or let users create their own groups.
  • Use advanced features including Collaborative Inboxes and member management settings.

As an administrator, you can also create groups in the Admin console when Groups for Business is on.

Create email lists and Collaborative Inboxes
Mailing list groups

Email lists

Groups can be set up as email lists, also known as mailing lists. Email list groups are useful for departments, project teams, classes, office locations, and special-interest groups. Using the group's email address, you can:

  • Send email to all group members
  • Invite group members to meetings
  • Share content with group members, including documents, sites, videos, and calendars

Learn how to create email lists.

Collaborative inbox groups

Collaborative Inboxes

Collaborative Inboxes are online discussion groups that let members:

  • Take a conversation they volunteer to resolve
  • Assign a conversation to another group member
  • Mark a conversation as a duplicate
  • Mark a conversation as complete


Learn how to create Collaborative Inboxes.

Let users create & manage their own groups

As an administrator, you decide who can create groups in your organization. You might want to restrict group creation to administrators, or let users create and manage their own groups. You also control whether people outside your organization can participate in your groups. You choose these options in the Groups for Business sharing settings in the Admin console. Learn about Groups for Business sharing settings.

Assign roles & permissions to members

You can assign roles to group members to control what they can and can't do in Groups. Default roles include member, manager, and owner. Learn about group roles.

Search, filter, & label content

You can use search operators to search for content in Groups, and save common search queries for future use. Also, you can organize conversations by labeling them, and filter conversations by their labels. Or, filter a group's conversations by date, resolution status, assignee, and other options. Learn how to label content.

Save the history of your conversations

You can turn on conversation history to let members view conversations online. If conversation history is off, members can view conversations only in email. Learn how to turn conversation history on or off.

Use groups to turn on or configure Google Workspace services

Groups created in the Admin console, Directory API, or Google Cloud Directory Sync can be used to:

  • Turn on Google Workspace services for group members—You can turn on Google Workspace services, such as Google Drive, for a group of users rather than an entire organizational unit. Learn about access groups.
  • Configure Google Workspace services for group members—Apply settings for Google Workspace services, such as Google Meet, to a group of users rather than an entire organizational unit. Learn about configuring services using a group.

Note: Only groups created in the Admin console or Admin SDK can be used to turn on services. Groups created in Google Groups (groups.google.com) can't be used to turn on or configure Google Workspace services.

If Groups for Business is off

Overview
Groups for Business turned off

If Groups for Business is off:

  • The Google Groups interface, groups.google.com, isn't available to your organization.
  • You can still create and manage groups in the Admin console, the Directory API, or Google Cloud Directory Sync. However, you can’t use groups as Collaborative Inboxes, and users can’t create their own groups in your organization.

 

Create groups for communication & collaboration
Use groups to turn on or configure Google Workspace services
  • Turn on Google Workspace services for group members—You can turn on Google Workspace services, such as Google Drive, for a group of users rather than an entire organizational unit. Learn about access groups.
  • Configure Google Workspace services for group members—Apply settings for Google Workspace services, such as Google Meet, to a group of users rather than an entire organizational unit. Learn about configuring services using a group.

Note: Only groups created in the Admin console or Admin SDK can be used to turn on services. Groups created in Google Groups (groups.google.com) can't be used to turn on or configure Google Workspace services.

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