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Google Groups for Discussion

In addition to being used for controlling permissions, Google Groups can be used to facilitate discussions like a mailman list.  The Google Groups App, available through UW Google Apps, helps even more by providing a home base for discussions, complete with a history of recent posts.

This page explains using Google Groups for discussions.  If you’d like help syncing UW Groups with Google Groups and using Google Groups for permissions, visit UW Google Apps for Group Sharing.

Setting up a Google Discussion Group

All UW Groups can be activated for use with the Google Groups App.  Activation is done through the UW Groups service.  Any UW Group activated for UW Google Apps will sync with UW Google Apps within a few minutes.

Any groups you’d like to use for discussion groups will not only need to be activated for UW Google Apps, but they will also need to have a setting for “Who can send mail to the group?”.  “No one” will keep the discussion portion of the group turned off, but all other options will apply when using the group for discussions.  For example, the option “Members of the Group” restricts discussions to group members, but “Anyone” opens the discussion group to any email address.  The middle setting “All Google accounts” is typically the best setting for discussion groups.

Two Types of Google Groups

Domain Groups

UW Groups activated for use with UW Google Apps are considered domain groups.  Domain groups can be used just like Google’s public groups, but changing membership must be done through the UW Groups service.

Public Groups

Public Google Groups are NOT FERPA compatible and are open to everyone. Public groups are no different from groups you can create with a consumer Gmail account. Unlike domain groups, public groups are created and managed through Google’s Groups App.  If you do not see a link for “Public Groups”, you can access them here.

Using Google’s Groups App

Finding the Groups App

Google’s Groups App can be found under the App menu from any UW Google Apps app page.  Select “Groups” from the list of Apps to get started.

Google Groups App menu

Home Screen

Google’s Groups App helps organize conversations and shows a view of all your discussion groups.  The home screen allows you to manage your own groups, or browse for groups you’d like to join.

Groups start

My Groups Menu

“My Groups” takes you to all the groups you’ve setup and all the groups you are a member of.  By default, you will be shown only “Domain Groups”–groups synced from the UW Groups service.  You can also look at “Public Groups” by clicking here. (some accounts require this link)

Google Groups Discussions

Discussion screen

All discussion topics are displayed through the Google Groups interface, however, you are also free to use email to interact with every Google Discussion group just as you would with any other email list.  The Groups app and archived discussions are simply an additional way to track discussions via email list.

Google Groups Topics

Help from Google

Google provides excellent documentation for the Groups app.  Feel free to explore the links below for more information on how Google Groups work, including what other options are available.  Please note: UW Groups synced with Google Groups do have some limitations in place.  Membership additions and removals for any group in the UW domain will always need to be done through the UW Groups service rather than Google’s Group interface.

Help From UW

UW Groups

The UW Groups service works with many different services, not just UW Google Collaborative Apps.  To learn more about UW Groups in general, visit these links:

UW Google Apps

Many different Apps are available through UW Google Collaborative Apps.  The links below help explain how Google Apps works at the UW.

And if you have any questions, please contact