Google Groups was developed in 2001 with the intention of being a discussion space for groups to share emails. It basically worked as a mailing list, but with multiple senders. After some time, people have started trying to use it as share inboxes, so different team members could work on emails sent to the same alias. You all could have a Google Group, be able to receive emails in your personal inbox and reply to them accordingly.
However, there are some limitations in Google Groups for this use case and this kind of workflow can be much more efficient if your team uses the right applications.
So here are some reasons why it doesn’t work always:
Google Groups is not shared inbox
Personally, I understand that using Google Groups for sharing inboxes is a part of an evolutive process for a time when shared inbox softwares didn’t exist. For people that use it for a long time it might be the best solution, but currently there are lots of good softwares with affordable prices — some are even for free.
The differences are huge, but you should pay attention to some key points of the best shared inboxes:
- No repetition of emails i.e. no need to cc, bcc, or fwd emails all the time;
- Assignment of emails to team members;
- Off-email communication, so you and your peers don’t need to email each other;
- Simple and organized user interface;
Since Google Groups doesn’t have proper shared inboxes and people need to forward each other inside the team all the time. Sometimes email threads get so long and confusing that people no longer realize who sent a specific reply to certain emails.
On the other hand, other softwares like Drag allow you to keep everyone in the same conversation and just assign a person to reply specific emails. This keeps work simple and no one will wonder who sent what.
Your emails are hard to find, read and reply
Google Groups shared inbox can get very messy. If visualization is important for you — and it should be, as it increases productivity exponentially — you should definitely avoid it at all costs.
Alternatives to Google Groups are numerous, and some are distinguished by how they make emails look more visual. Kanban (a philosophy created by Toyota after the Second World War) is widely used nowadays in tools such as Trello, but many people still don’t know they can use it straight from email. It transforms your email into a productivity machine.
Drag: the Google Groups alternative in Gmail
Our software doesn’t add any new logins/websites for your team. It works straight from your Gmail Inbox.
By doing so, we allow your team to learn faster and have less questions about what’s new. We also centralize work, because we have Helpdesk/CRM functionalities and shared boards inside your email. Basically we change everything, but we keep it visually the same.
The Kanban view is also incredibly helpful. By making all emails pop up visually, you can instantly understand in which stage everything is. As a result, you can spend less time on your email.
The fact that Drag works inside Gmail decreases drastically the time to be invested to learn about a new tool. It also centralizes work, by allowing Helpdesk to be managed within the same space as emails and To Dos.
Drag starts and stays for free, but if you want to unlock its full power, prices start at $3/month/user. We believe that simple solutions make everything better for both sides because they decrease the amount of new information you need to learn something new.
Here are some other features you can add to your cards in a Kanban board:
- Delegation of tickets;
- Customer info, such as phone number and company;
- Progress bar;
- Due dates;
- Internal notes.
All of it. Right into your Gmail team inbox.
Google Groups are truly a technology from the past, so to move forward you’ll have to think about your team’s needs and on a software that works for you.
After some research you’ll probably realize how simple shared inboxes can be — and their potential when it comes to team communication and productivity.
This is our attempt at sharing everything. It’s as simple as that You don’t have to be a customer to follow us.