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Google Groups Alternative: How to Overcome Google Groups Limitations

By 31st August 2018January 19th, 2023No Comments
google groups alternative

If you are using Google Groups to collaborate with your team, you need a Google Groups alternative. Let me explain why.

Google Groups was developed in 2001 as a discussion space where group members can communicate through either a web forum or an email list. However, it has been increasingly used as a Shared Inbox. That’s because teams need to be able to manage emails collaboratively, without needing to share an email account and password. Shared inboxes are typically employed in workflows such as Customer Support, Sales, Accounts Payable, among others.

Businesses are craving for email collaboration. And to be fair, using Google Groups as an attempt to collaborate in emails used to be reasonable when there was no other alternatives to share inboxes in Gmail. However, today, there is a much better Google Groups alternative, that works right from inside Gmail. This means you need to ditch your Google Groups Collaborative Inbox, today.

First, here’s why Google Groups is not the right tool for a Shared Inbox.

Why not to use Google Groups as a shared inbox

There are lots of reasons why you should not use Google Groups as a collaborative inbox. The key ones are:

1. Google Groups does not integrate to Gmail

The Google Groups Collaborative Inbox UI is entirely different from Gmail’s. But if your business is in Google Workspace, chances are that your team spends many hours a day in Gmail. Using Google Groups as a shared inbox means needing 2 tabs: one for Gmail and another one for Google Groups. And you really shouldn’t need two completely different applications to manage emails with your team, right?

google groups collaborative inbox

Not to mention, getting everyone on a team to switch between different platforms to manage their tasks presents a lot of hurdles to productivity. The result is that many teams end up choosing to receive Google Groups emails in their own Gmail inbox. But this brings even more issues, like the following points.

2. Email threads are messy

Google Groups was developed for a “one-to-many” type of communication, for example to send announcements to a mailing list. It’s easier to send emails to “[email protected]” instead of to 250 individual email addresses, right? However, email announcements do not require replies. When you start needing to communicate back and forth in emails (like in a shared inbox), everything changes.

Imagine if your team was using a Google Group “[email protected]†for customer support, and then you receive an inquiry. One of the two scenarios will likely happen:

  1. Someone replies only to the user, which means the rest of the team won’t know whether the email was replied;
  2. Someone replies and cc the whole team – that has no action required in that situation – generating loads of emails in everybody’s inboxes for no reason.

Working as a team through Google Groups means that members need to forward, “cc†or “bcc†emails to each other and the group address (eg. [email protected], [email protected]) frequently. When this happens, email threads can become long and confusing, and may not be relevant to everyone inside the thread. This way, essential tasks fall through the cracks because task delegation becomes impossible.

3. Lack of accountability

Using Google Groups as a shared inbox generates confusion not only in internal discussions but also in accountability:

  • From the Google Group interface, you can only assign conversations to 1 team member. Still, there is no “assigned to me” view or an easy way to visualize conversations assigned to a team member. And you are not able to view those assignments from you Gmail inbox.
  • If you manage emails of a Google Group from Gmail, you cannot assign conversations to team members at all.

Truth is accountability is a big issue in Google Groups collaborative inboxes. All Group members receive the same emails in their own inboxes and have no visibility of each other’s inboxes. If nobody knows who is working on what, one of the below is likely to happen:

  1. Team members jumping in and replying to the same email twice or;
  2. Emails not being replied at all, as conversations have no clear ‘owner’

Needless to say, none of the options above is perfect for your business and external relationships like a customer.

4. It’s hard to view status of conversations

If you are working in a team on many conversations, you must be able to easily view their statuses. But there is no easy way to do that when using Google Groups to collaborate on emails. It doesn’t matter if you are using the Google Groups interface or Gmail to manage conversations.

The best segmentation available in the Google Groups interface are the subfolders “approved” and “pending” on the left side. But if you have specific stages in your workflow, like “escalated to department X”, you can’t segment conversations this way. Basically, you can’t customize the Google Groups interface to the stages of your specific workflow.

google groups collaborative inbox

Get the Best Google Groups Alternative Now

Drag turns Gmail into your Team’s Workspace – One single place to support customers, manage tasks and close deals, from the place teams love: Gmail. We are a Techstars-backed Company, trusted by 30,000 users around the World.

Try Drag for Free

The best Google Groups alternative

Fortunately, there is a fit-for-purpose shared inbox for Google Workspace users. Drag

is the Google Groups alternative that works right from inside Gmail, an interface that is already familiar for you and your team. It eliminates the Google Groups limitations and the learning curve that comes with introducing a new tool to a team.

On Drag boards, emails and tasks are presented as cards in an easily understandable order, aligned with your team’s goals.  You can then easily move these cards to different statuses to track down your progress. Assignments, due dates, and even an internal chat are all features built to make sure your team is always on the same page and as lean as possible.

Why is Drag the best Google Group alternative?

Here’s why Drag represents an upgrade from Google Groups for your team.

1. It works inside Gmail

Drag doesn’t add any new logins or tabs for your team. It works straight from your Gmail Inbox. It works around Drag boards, which can be in either kanban or list views. The kanban view looks like this:

Drag baord with card being dragged to another column in Kanban boardYou can also turn your own Inbox into a Drag board, or keep it untouched on the traditional Gmail view.

2. No more endless threads

Drag was built specifically to allow teams to collaborate on emails. Drag boards can be shared with different teams across different workflows. For example, a Helpdesk board can be shared with your CS team, while a Sales board is shared with your Sales team. You can manage your entire business workflows from Gmail with Drag boards.

create new workspace
You can integrate a Google Group email address to a Drag board, so that new emails load in real time. Or you can go for what we call “empty boards”. These boards start empty, like a blank canvas. You can then populate them the way you want: create new tasks, move existing conversations into it, or create automations to move emails into it automatically. 

Regardless of the board type your choose, Drag eliminates duplicated and confusing threads, mainly because:

It brings transparency to email correspondences

As emails load in real time on Drag boards, the entire team has immediate access to a single version of emails. This means users will no longer receive ‘copies’ of emails in their own individual inbox, bringing transparency to your teamwork.

It enables replies to come from individual or Google Groups email addresses

When using Drag, you can choose to reply to emails from either your individual email address or from the Google Group email address. Better than that, you can set up a ‘default reply’ to always come from one of these options.

3. Clear work assignment and internal communication

With Drag, each conversation has a clear responsible, so no emails fall through the cracks or have duplicated replies. Besides, an internal chat enables teams to chat to each other within the context of a conversation. This means no need to forward emails internally.

You can also easily filter boards to see only the conversations assigned to you, to get things done faster. Finally, shared drafts allow you and other team members to collaborate on emails before they are sent out.

internal chat

4. Better visualization

Visualization is key when working on multiple tasks with multiple team members. Unlike the limited categorization in the Google Groups interface, Drag boards are flexible and adjustable to different workflows.

You can define your own workflow stages and have them in a clear kanban view to understand task statuses. You can also slice and dice boards with filters and different sorting options to find important information quickly.

Conclusion

Google Groups is a great one-to-many communication tool, but definitely not a very collaborative one. There’s simply no reason to keep using it to achieve this purpose. There are better Google Groups alternatives if you are looking to collaborate on emails in a team.Drag is the best Google Groups alternative because it is fit-for-purpose to enable teams to collaborate in Gmail. It also drastically decreases the time

that teams invest in learning about a new tool and centralizes work by allowing multiple workflows to be managed in a consistent way.

The best alternative to Google Groups.

Drag turns Gmail into your Team’s Workspace – One single place to support customers, manage tasks and close deals, from the place teams love: Gmail. We are a Techstars-backed Company, trusted by 30,000 users around the World.

Try Drag for Free
Samantha Anacleto

Author Samantha Anacleto

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