Did you know that Google has added another item to their ever growing list of Internet products? Well, they did and this one is called Google Groups. Google Groups was launched in October 2006 in the beta stage, but it came out of beta in a full version in January 2007. So, I thought now would be a perfect time to tell you all about it!
Google Groups is where people can connect with other people with similar interests, concerns or they can use it to just keep in touch with family and friends. But, more than that, Google Groups allows you to share files and documents and even create Web pages within the group. Group members can collaborate on group documents, files and Web pages as well. That is one thing that sets Google Groups apart from all the others.
Group owners can upload a group logo, pictures and even customize their own fonts and colors. Basically, they can create a theme for their group. Each Google Group also has 100 MB of storage space to store all of your group’s documents, photos and Web pages on. Group posting and activity statistics are also available.
Once you belong to a group, you can star ( ) your favorite topics so you can easily revisit certain topics of interests. This feature is similar to the starring of e-mails in Gmail, if you are familiar with that. Additionally, you can now rate posts that you find to be most useful to you and you can locate posts that many group members rated favorably.
So, now that you have an overview of Google Groups, let’s get started with finding a group and creating a group!
Find a Group
There are two ways to locate groups. First, you will need to get to the Google Groups homepage, which can be found here: http://groups.google.com/.
1. Explore Group Categories.
As you can see from the Google Groups homepage shown below, some group categories are already listed on the front page. If you click on the Browse all group categories link, you will be taken to a page that lists all the current groups. At the time of this writing, there were over 10,000 groups to choose from. That’s a lot, don’t you think?!
2. Search the Groups Database.
Another way to locate a group is to use the search function. You can use the Search Groups feature if you have a particular interest and know what types of groups you are looking for. At the top of the Google Groups homepage, you will see the Search Groups box. Just type in the topic that you are interested in and click Search Groups. You will be brought to a page that will list all the groups for that category. It’s very easy to do!
Okay, so now that you now how to find a Google Group, how about creating one?!
Create a Group
To create a Google Group, let’s go back to the Google Groups homepage again, found here. You will see a box on the right hand side that says Create a group in 3 steps. Click on Create a Group.
Note: You will need to have a Google account to create a Google Group. If you do not have a Google account, you will be brought to a page that will say “Don’t have a Google Account? Create an account now.” You can register for a Google account there. If you already have a Google account, you will need to be signed into it, in order to create a Group.
Once you click on Create a Group, you will be brought to a page where you will be asked to Set Up Your Group. You will be asked to name your group, create a group e-mail address and write an overview of the group, as seen below. You will also be asked to provide the access level for your group, whether it be public or announcement only.
Once you have completed the Set Up Group information, you will be brought to a page to Add Members to the Group. This is where you can invite members by e-mail to your group. You can also skip this step, if you are not ready for that yet.
Once you click on Invite members or Skip this step, you are done! You have then created your very own Google Group!
Your Group e-mail address will look like this: firstname.lastname@example.org. Your group Web site address will be http://groups.google.com/group/yourgroupname, so look for those!
You will receive an automated e-mail message from Google Groups providing you with your Group name, homepage and Group e-mail address, as well as, a few other Group administrative matters.
How easy was that?!
Now, go on and enjoy your Google Groups!
~ Liz Magill