- Social Network?
- User Ratings
Summary:Falling Behind and Fading
Pros:Solid Reliable Performance if You Only Need a Mailing List
Cons:Not a True Social Networking Community Tool
Like Yahoo Groups, Google groups is mostly included here because of it's history and prevalence in the realm of online social communications. Also like YahooGroups, Google's offering is at heart a mailing list with a web interface available. In fact, Google has taken recent steps to strip it down to just that. Previous Page and Files features have been removed with Google suggesting that users utilize their Sites product for those features. While all of these features are easily accessible via a menu if you have a Google account, they still aren't integrated like most of the solutions we review are.
Google also offers photo storage and one of the best web-based calendars I've ever seen. However, even though a wide range of features are available on Google, they aren't integrated in such a way to promote a sense of community. Further, the way they are connected and can be shared between applications is not particularly user-friendly. Udates in progress for Google groups are focused on bringing more life to Discussions (allowing rich text, embedding of pictures, access from mobile phones, and more). While the threading and profile pics are nice, Google is still lagging far behind even YahooGroups in this area.
I'm actually a regular user of Google products. I utilize Gmail and Google Calendar extensively and even own an Android phone. Google Groups, however, falls flat for me as a social networking offering, serving only as a reliable free mailing list.
Significant Feature Notes
Resources – Help Section
General Use - Basic, user-friendly mailing list and web interface.
Admin - Public, invitation only and private group settings. Permission settings for each feature. Managers and Members only roles available.
Layout - Templates available to change colors and fonts with some allowance for color cutomization. Only one general layout available. Can rearrange order of menu items. Can customize email/message footers and prefixes.
Events – Only through Google Calendar as a separate application.
Files – Only through Google Sites as a separate application.
Photos – Only through Picasa as a separate application.
Wiki – Only through Google Sites as a separate application.
Average User Ratings
Ease of Use Rating: