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Overview of Google Groups

Google Groups is a feature of Google Apps that makes it easy to communicate and collaborate with groups of people—such as project teams, departments, office locations, and special-interest groups. A group is like a mailing list: It contains the email addresses of its members, but also has its own address. Using just the one email address for the group, you can:

  • Send email to group members
  • Invite group members to meetings
  • Share your content (e.g., Google documents, sites, videos, and calendars) with group members

But that's not all! Google Groups also includes these useful features:

  • My Groups—Lists all the groups you belong to. Here's where you can manage your own group memberships, without having to make requests to ITS.
  • Groups directory—Lists all the groups for organization. Use the directory to view formation about groups, including group members. Here is where you can also join new groups, without the assistance of ITS.
  • Discussion archives (forums)—Records all the communications between group members. Read past messages and even post and reply to group messages.

About Google Groups and Google Contacts

Google groups vs. contact groups: You might be wondering how Google groups differ from the contact groups you can create in your My Contacts list in Google Contacts (click Contacts in Gmail). The primary difference is that a Google group has its own email address, so it can be shared in our Groups directory and others can send messages to it. Your contact groups, on the other hand, are for your personal use, to make it easy to add a list of addresses to your email messages and meeting invitations. Contact groups don't have their own email address, so no one else can sent messages to them.

Google groups and shared corporate contacts: Google groups aren't included in any shared corporate contacts you might be able to access in Google Contacts. Instead, you'll find them all in our Groups directory. However, after you send a message to a group, it appears in your All Contacts list in Google Contacts. From there, you can easily add the group to your My Contacts list (although this isn't necessary).

Google groups and "auto-complete": Whenever you want to send another message to the group, invite the group to a meeting, or share a document with the group, just start typing it's address and it will be completed automatically.

Access your "My groups" page

To access Google Groups in iSpartan, click the Apps button Apps menu button in the upper-right corner and select Drive - or go to

Your My groups page will look similar to this:

My Groups page

Find groups in the Groups directory

All of the groups at UNCG are listed in our Groups directory. Here, you'll find information about groups, view a group's members list, read messages on the group's discussion archive, and even subscribe to groups that are open to new members.

Note: The Group Owner can select whether a Group is listed in the UNCG Directory. If it is not listed, you must know the name of the Group to access it. The Group name will be sent to you with your invitation, or can be obtained from the Group Owner or Manager.

To see a list of all groups in the directory:

On your My groups page, click Browse all groups.

browse all groups

To find a group by text in its name, address, or description:

On your My groups page or at the top of Groups directory, type some text (whole words only) in the field and click Search for a group. For example:

search groups

To open a group's page in the Groups directory:

Click the group's name. For example:

open a group

Manage your group memberships

Want to get a summary of messages sent to a group once a day instead or receiving each message separately? Or perhaps you'd prefer to just read messages on the group's discussion archive (forum page) instead of receiving messages in your Inbox. It's easy to change your group preferences, and even to unsubscribe from a group altogether.

  1. Go to your My groups page and click Manage my memberships:
  2. manage memberships

    You'll see the "Manage my memberships" page, showing all the groups you're a member of. For example:
    memberships page

  3. Under Subscription type, in the drop-down list for a group, choose a subscription option:
    • No Email: You won't receive messages to the group in your Inbox. You can visit the group's discussion archive to read messages.
    • Abridged Email: Once a day, you'll get a summary of new messages.
    • Digest Email: Once a day, you'll get full email messages bundled into a single message.
    • Email: You'll receive each message sent to the group separately.
    • Unsubscribe: Removes you from the group's members list. You'll no longer receive any messages to the group.
  4. Click Save group settings.

View a group's members list

If the Group Manager allows Group Members to view the member list, follow these steps to see who belongs to your group:

  1. Open the group's page in the Groups directory.
  2. On the group's page, click Members.
  3. members

    The members list appears. For example:
    members list

Note: Some groups keep their members list private, so you can't view members for all groups.

Subscribe to a group

You can subscribe any group in our Groups directory that's open to new members. Some groups let you subscribe directly, while others might require you to send a request:

  1. Open the group's page in the Groups directory.
  2. On the group's page, click Join this group.

  3. join group

  4. Choose how you want to receive messages sent to the group and the nickname you want members to see.
  5. Click Join this group.

Other groups require that an invitation be sent to you. To subscribe from an invitation, simply click the indicated link in the email you get inviting you to subscribe.

If a Group has open subscription, send an email to Group (where Group name is the name of the Group). For example, to subscribe to, send an email to

View a group's discussion archive

When someone sends a message to a group, it's automatically saved in the group's discussion archive. If you have the appropriate access permissions for the group, you can view a group's archive to find past messages. Or, you can post and reply to messages directly on the archive.

To view a group's archive, just open the group's page in the Groups directory. The group's "Discussions" page appears.

If you navigate to another page for the group, you can get back to the archive by clicking Discussions on the right.

Note: A group's owner can turn off archiving, so some groups may not have an archive.

Find messages in group archives

Need to find a specific message sent to a group quickly? Just search for it!

At the top of your My groups page or the Groups directory, type your search text in the field and click Search Groups (or Search in the Groups directory). You can search for any text in the message's subject or body (whole words only), or search for the sender's email address. To narrow your search further, click Advanced group search:

search for a message

Request your own group

If you would like to request your own Google Group, please fill out the Google Groups Request form.

Note: The Group name you choose will be used when sending email to the group. The name must be at least nine characters and should be descriptive and concise (e.g., UNCGCATLOVERS). The Group title that you choose should be descriptive and five words or less. All Groups will have "-L" appended to aid in identifying mail sent from a Group.

With Google Groups, it's easy to create a group for teams, departments, special-interest groups—whatever you need! When requesting a group, you choose an access level, which determines who can:

  • Send messages to your group
  • Join the group
  • View the group's discussion archive
  • View the group's members list

After your group has been created, you can edit it to:

  • Customize the access level (such as require people to request an invitation to join the group)
  • Require message moderation—that is, your approval for all messages sent to the group
  • Hide the group from the Groups directory (if this feature is enabled for your domain)
  • Turn off the discussion archive
  • Change the color scheme

Send email to a group

To send an email message to a group, simply enter the group's address as a recipient in the To field. If you start typing the address, it will auto-complete in the field.


  • Each member of the list sees only the group's address in the message you send—they can't see the other members' names or addresses.
  • There are limits to how much email you can send in general and to Groups specifically. See: Sending limits.
  • If your Group has 3,000 subscribers with non-UNCG addresses, no mail will be sent to that Group. If you have a list with 3,000 or more subscribers with non-UNCG email addresses, please contact 6-TECH for assistance.

Send a calendar invitation to a group

To send a calendar invitation to a group, simply enter the group's address in the Guests field. If you start typing the address, it will auto-complete in the field.

After saving or sending an invitation to a group, you'll see the list of members in the invitation on your calendar, if you have the appropriate privileges to view the group's members list. The members appear as if you added them separately, and the group address itself no longer appears—for example:

list of members

Remember that anyone who receives the invitation can see the expanded members list.

Tip: Want to remove members from the invitation before sending it? First, save the invitation. Edit the expanded members list, and then send the invitation.

Share content with a group

With Google Groups, you can easily share your Google documents, sites, videos, and calendars with multiple people. As you add new members to your groups, they'll automatically gain access to content you previously shared with that group.

For example, if you create a group with the address "" and add five members, you can instantly share a Google document with them, just by sharing the document with the group's address:

If you later add another member, that member automatically inherits permission to access the document or any other content you shared with the group. Similarly, if you remove a member from a group, that individual no longer has access to any content you shared with the group.

Helpful Links

Limits for Adding Members and New Groups