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 some sort of “Shared Inbox”, in which a Group of people receive the same messages at the same time without needing to share an email account and a password.
Businesses are craving for Email Collaboration. Using Google Groups as an attempt to collaborate in Gmail used to be reasonable when there was no alternative to Shared Inbox in Gmail. However, today alternative tools go far beyond Google Groups e and also make it much simpler for companies.
Here’s why Google Groups is not the right tool for a Shared Inbox.
Why you shouldn’t use Google Groups as a shared inbox
There are a lot of reasons why you should not do that. The key ones are:
1. The collaborative inbox is clunky and unintuitive
The Google Groups collaborative inbox UI is completely different from Gmail’s – a service that everyone in the team is already using in their main workflow. There are no patterns on the UI to simplify tasks and communication.
Not to mention, getting everyone on a team to switch between different platforms to manage their tasks presents a lot of hurdles to productivity.
2. Email threads are messy
Working as a team through Google Groups means that members need to forward, “cc:”, and “bcc:” emails to each other and to the group address (sales@, info@, etc.) constantly. Email threads can become long and confusing, and may not be relevant to everyone inside the thread.
If everyone — or just more people — need to reply to an email, the message will have to be forwarded, or sent again to everyone in the loop. Imagine if you were using a Google Group “email@example.com” for customer support, and then you receive an inquiry from a customer. One of the two scenarios will happen:
- Someone replies only to the user, which means the rest of the team won’t know whether the email was replied;
- 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.
This way, important tasks will definitely fall through the cracks because task delegation becomes impossible in this setting.
3. Assignments are not clear
Using Google Groups as shared inboxes may generate not only confusion in internal discussions but also in accountability. It’s very hard to assign emails to certain team members while using Google Groups. And this is definitely a required feature that a Google Groups alternative need to offer.
As a result, this generates two kinds of issues:
- Confusion around who should be replying to each email, that may result in nobody replying to some emails at all;
- The opposite of the point above, i.e. two or more team members replying to the same emails multiple times.
None of the options above is very good for your business and external relationships like a customer, right?
4. No task visibility
Tracking task statuses is necessary so that everyone on the team knows who’s working on which task.
Google Groups doesn’t have this functionality, which means that there are high chance team members will end up working on tasks that have already been completed!
The best alternative to Google Groups
Fortunately, there is now a proper shared inbox tool on the market that gets rid of these collaboration nightmares: Drag, the Google Groups alternative in Gmail.
Drag transforms the way teams work, but all within the Gmail platform – an interface that’s already familiar. This eliminates the learning curve that comes with introducing a new tool to an entire team.
With Drag’s Kanban view, all tasks are presented as cards in an order that’s easily understandable and that aligns with the team’s goals. Feel free to 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 you team is always on the same page and as lean as possible 🙂
How does Drag work?
Drag doesn’t add any new logins/websites for your team. It works straight from your Gmail Inbox. We work with Drag boards, and they look like this:
This view is optional for your personal Inbox. You can use kanban view in your Gmail or not (there is a toggle button on the top right to turn it on or off).
Each one of these boards can be shared with different team mates (including your personal one! Yes, CEO / VAs, this if for you). You can also add as many boards as you want. There are different options:
You can create Empty boards and populate them as you prefer. Or you can also add a Shared Inbox, for teams that work on emails such as sales@ or support@. These are real-time boards, emails will automatically load and be visible to the whole team.
You can also drag emails (or tasks) across board! It’s really simple:
In a nutshell, below are some other features you can add to your cards in a Kanban board. You can read more about our features here.
- Shared Inbox such as sales@ or support@ from Gmail;
- Shared task management boards;
- Assignment to team members;
- Add tasks to Inbox;
- Due dates;
- Color coding;
- Internal chat;
- Filter and sort emails
- Customer info, such as phone number and company (coming soon!)
All of it. Right into your Gmail team inbox.
Google Groups it’s not a tool to enhance team productivity. There’s simply no reason to keep using it to achieve this purpose. Many options like Drag exist on the market that is better suited for helping teams collaborate effectively.
Shared inboxes are simple and intuitive, and they have enormous potential in terms of what they can do to transform the way your team works.
The fact that Drag works inside Gmail decrease 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 is The Everything Inbox for Teams – one single place to support customers, manage tasks and close deals, from the place teams love – Gmail. We are Techstars-backed Company, trusted by 30,000 users around the World.