Picture this: you're working on a new project with your team. You ask your IT admin to create a new group that includes all of your team members, keeping in mind that you must ask them to update the group every time people join or leave the group. Maybe you're even wishing that (a) you had a secure, central place to manage this group and communicate with it, and (b) you could easily search group archives for information somewhere other than your inbox.

That's when your admin gives you the good news: creating, managing and sharing with groups just got a whole lot easier. Today, Google Apps is giving business and school IT administrators the ability to let users create, manage and collaborate in groups without needing IT help. This launch is a major expansion to the mailing list functionality and content sharing we released earlier this year.

The following Google Groups features are now included in Google Apps Premier and Education Editions:
  • Fast set-up. Employees and students can now create collaborative groups instantly without burdening IT, and manage the group settings to fit their needs.
  • Searchable archives. Group discussions are archived by default, allowing users to easily search and view past and present discussions via the web.
  • Sharing with a group. Once a group is set up, employees and students can easily share a document, spreadsheet, presentation, shared folder, site, calendar, or video with that group. No need to type in individual email address manually, or remember who joined or left the group. Plus, the shared items will only be accessible by the appropriate people, even as people join and leave the group.
  • Reply on behalf of a group. In addition to communicating via email or the web interface, the new functionality lets group managers send a message on behalf of a group.
  • IT capabilities. IT administrators still manage if and how users can create groups from the administrative control panel.

Google Apps Premier and Education Edition administrators can now enable the new groups functionality from the control panel by enabling the "user-managed groups" service. You can read more about this announcement on the Official Google Blog. Google Groups will be rolling out to Google Apps Premier and Education Edition domains over the next day, so if you don't notice these features right now, you should see them soon.

We're always developing new features to help you get your job done faster and more efficiently with Google Apps. Stay tuned to this blog for the latest updates as new features continue to come your way, or subscribe to our Google Apps update feed and get the news as it happens.

Posted by Shimrit Ben-Yair, Product Manager