Do&039s and don&039ts of Google Groups | Shared Contacts for Gmail®

Google groups: group pointing at a laptop

Google Groups are a way of organizing Google users — such as the holders of a Google or Gmail account— that share the same permissions, e.g. accessing certain documents on Google Drive, receiving mass emails, or attending certain meetings.

This allows you to schedule specific actions, such as sharing documents, sending something, granting permissions, inviting to events, etc., just once for the whole group instead of always individually.

For example, if you later want to send an email to the “accounting” google group, all members of the group will receive it and you don’t need to list all the individual recipients.

You can also create groups with people outside of your organization, as long as they have a Google account. groups are within the entire google workspace universe, so they encompass the entire google workspace as a whole.

Using google groups also allows you to protect your data because you can control the members of a group and therefore who can access sensitive information.

You can find them under the name “mailing lists” in the microsoft ecosystem or “security groups” in ldap and active directory.

many organizations and their users don’t know how to use google groups and get the most out of them, but they can be very useful for you and your company.

In this article, we’ll go over some of the pros and cons of Google Groups and tell you how you can optimize the use of your Google Workspace with Google Groups and Shared Contacts for Gmail®.

read more: what is contact sharing and why is it important

what is the difference between google groups and tags/contact lists?

google groups should not be confused with google contact tags (also known as contact lists or address books). here is the difference:

A tag, address book, or contact list contains contacts, while a group contains members. Contact is like a card that stores extensive information about a person, whether they are a Google user or not, such as their email, phone number, address, job title, etc. it’s a bit like a mini-crm.

Anyone can create and manage contacts from many places. this includes your phone, gmail, etc, while google groups are mostly handled by it departments or google workspace domain administrators, though there are exceptions to this rule too.

A contact tag can be private or shared with other users. a contact tag can be created and managed in google contacts, in your phone address book, in gmail, google drive etc while a google group can only be managed by a google domain administrator from the google workspace admin console.

Now that we know the difference, let’s move on to how to create groups in Google Workspace.

read more: the brief guide to managing contacts

how to create a google group?

To create a google group, you must be a google domain administrator.

go to management console > groups > create a new group, then add the members you want to add by simply typing in their email address.

You can add a group as a member of another group. then this group will inherit all the permissions of this group. it’s like a small group within a larger group!

groups do not store information about the people in them, unlike google contacts. remember that the group is just a list of its members, while the labels of your google contacts are like address books.

read more: 7 tips on how to use google workspace like a pro

how do you create a tag/contact list?

Anyone can create a label or contact list, no need to be an administrator. just follow these steps:

simply: open shared contacts for gmail® or google contact manager and create the label of your choice (eg “my team”, “colleagues”, etc.)

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then add the contacts you want to add to this tag. when you want to send a group email, just click on the shared contact icon and select the label of your choice.

if you want to share this tag with other colleagues, just follow this guide.

Google groups: Group of people working together

Read more:

how to share an existing tag with your team

how to share a large number of contact tags

how to sync a new label in google contacts

how to share a tag using the gmail plugin

google groups on google drive

Next, let’s look at some pros and cons of Google Groups, starting with how you use Groups on Google Drive.

✅ define user groups according to common actions and permissions in drive.

decide which group of users receive the same emails, can access each type of document, etc.

for example, if you normally need information from your sales team about certain documents, you would add them to the same group and then share those documents with that group.

name these groups with explicit names (such as “marketing team”, “managers”, “front desk”, etc.)

As mentioned above, your admin can easily create these groups in the google workspace admin console.

? don’t share individual google drive files with individuals.

If you share folders or drive documents with individuals, you will have difficulty removing these accesses when you no longer need them, due to, for example, leaving or changing responsibility.

Sometimes it’s impossible to delete them all individually when you share tons of documents with one person. you no longer remember what was shared with whom, and this is insecure in the long run.

If you ever had to remove their access, you would have to individually go through each place you gave them access to, and that’s potentially hundreds or thousands of documents!

✅ gives access to the whole group instead of individual people.

so instead of sharing with individuals, the best practice is to remove all individual shares from your documents and drive folders and share them again with the appropriate google groups.

then each individual belonging to a group will have access to the resources shared with that group.

When someone leaves the organization or moves to another department, or for some other reason no longer needs access, you only need to remove this person from the group(s) they belong to to suspend their related access.

Even if only admins can create groups and manage their members, anyone can use them.

✅ check who the group members are before sharing something with a group.

This feature is possible with Shared Contacts for the Gmail® Drive Plugin.

In the right side panel of google drive, click on the “Shared Contacts Drive Plugin” icon. then select “domain groups” from the dropdown menu.

click on the group you plan to share the folder with, and then click “view members” to easily see who is in that group.

This is simply the easiest way to make sure the right people can access your document and that you always know who you’re sharing things with.

and if you want to know who can access a drive document that is shared with a group, use “shared contacts for drive”.

Clicking the unit plugin icon will cause the avatars of all collaborators for that document to appear in the right side panel. clicking on the avatar will display all members of the group, along with their contact information.

important: don’t forget to install the google drive plugin for google contacts.

? do not share documents or drive folders with contact lists/labels

If you share a google drive folder with a group, access to this folder will automatically update when members of this group change.

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However, when you share with a contact tag, Google will share the folder with these users individually, and if you remove a user from the tag, you’ll still have access to that folder.

read more: the 7 best google productivity extensions and plugins

read more: how to use shared contacts for google drive

google groups in gmail

let’s move on to some pros and cons of google groups in gmail.

? don’t send an email to a group of people without knowing who it’s for.

When you send an email to a google group address (eg “everyone”, “partners”), there is no way of knowing who is in which group when sending the message.

The same goes for the recipients of that email: they don’t know who the exact members of this group are, so they don’t know who else received it.

This means that there could be irrelevant or even wrong people among the recipients by accident.

On google workspace, only the admin can see who is in which group, which can be inconvenient for other users.

✅ check who the group members are by clicking the “shared contacts gmail plugin” icon before sending an email.

so, before you send anything, in the window where you create a new message, click on the “shared contacts” icon.

select “domain groups” from the dropdown menu, then click the group you plan to send the email to. after that, click “view members” to see everyone in the group.

if you don’t want to send the email to all of them, just select the recipients you want to send the email to and voila!

(for this to be possible, don’t forget to install the gmail plugin for google contacts)

✅ send emails to contact tags in the same way in case there is no google group for your recipients.

In the window where you create a new message, click on the “shared contacts” icon. in the dropdown menu, select “contact lists”.

click the group you plan to send the email to and then click “view members”

if you don’t want to send the email to all of them, just select the recipients you want to send it to, similar to above.

✅ check who the other recipients of the email are once you receive it.

this can be easily done with shared contacts for gmail®.

on the right side of your gmail inbox, click the “shared contacts” icon. then the name and avatar of the sender and recipients of this email will appear in the right side panel.

When you click on the group avatar, the names of all group members will be displayed. now you know who else received that email!

? don’t spam people with emails that are not relevant to them.

this is another cool feature of shared contacts for gmail®.

If you want to send an email but you don’t want all group members to receive it for some reason: You can select users in our gmail plugin.

just click on the group and then select the users, even “everyone except x”, or individual people.

This way you don’t always have to create a new group or send it to individual people if you want to exclude someone who is in that group.

✅ use google groups and shared gmail® contacts to send emails only to relevant people.

read more: how to share tags in google contacts and get organized?

read more: how to share a label directly from gmail?

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google groups in google contacts

now, we still have google groups in google contacts to review.

✅ define user groups based on the contacts they can access.

You can decide which group of users can access or update the same contacts.

be sure to name these groups with explicit names (such as “marketing team”, “managers”, “front desk”, etc.)

then create these groups in the google workspace admin console if they don’t already exist.

? don’t share labels with individual people if your organization shares a large number of contact labels.

If you share contact lists with individuals, you’ll have a hard time doing a couple of things.

first of all, it is difficult to share all the tags with newcomers to the organization. Let’s say you have 400 contact tags – it would take a long time to share those 400 tags with the same new user. yes, you would have to do it 400 times separately.

Second, remove these accesses when people leave or change responsibilities. once again, you would have to remove your access 400 times.

Also, don’t forget that sharing contacts with people isn’t secure. there is no way of knowing or remembering what is shared with whom in the long run.

✅ Give access to entire groups instead of individual people in shared contacts for gmail®.

Best practice is to remove all individual shares from your contacts’ tags and share them again with the appropriate google groups.

It may seem like a lot of work, but you only need to do it once.

When this is done, each individual belonging to a group will have access to contacts shared with that group only.

When someone leaves the organization or moves to another department, you only need to remove this person from the group(s) they belong to to suspend their related access. then these shared contacts will disappear from all your address books.

While only admins can create groups and manage their members, anyone can share with them.

✅ check who the group members are before sharing a contact or contact tag with that group.

in the “sharing settings” window of the shared contact for gmail, just add the name of the group; It has autocomplete.

click on “group members”. this helps you easily make sure the right people can access this tag.

✅ Check your shared contacts panel if you want to know who can access a contact or contact label that is shared with one or more groups.

this is also done very easily. simply select the tag of your choice and click the “share” icon.

then the list of collaborators will appear. Below each group, you will see a link to “group members”. once you click here you will see all the members of this google group that can access that specific tag.

✅ use the shared contacts plugin for gmail® to see, at a glance on the right hand side, who is in a group.

conclusion

and there you have it.

Making the most of Google Groups is an easy way to organize Google users and make things like sharing documents and folders and sending group emails and invitations much easier.

Google Groups is best used when combined with Shared Contacts for Gmail®. Shared Contacts for Gmail® is a contact management solution designed to make managing and sharing contacts as easy as possible within the Google Workspace universe.

Using Shared Contacts for Gmail® in conjunction with Google Groups will increase your productivity and help your team avoid repetitive tasks that they would otherwise have to do over and over again.

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