Group Email Options

If you want to email a group of people without having to type in their email addresses every time, what's the best way to do it?  You have four options:

  • Google Group -  a Google Group has an email address (e.g.  Emails sent to the address will be delivered to group members at their own email addresses.  It is also an easier way to assign permissions within Google, such as the ability to view a Google Calendar or Document, to a large group of people.  There is no inbox for a Google Group, but Groups can be set up to archive messages, which can be read on the webpage dedicated to the Group (similarly to a Listserv).

  • Shared Mailbox - a shared mailbox has an email address (e.g.  Emails sent to the address will be delivered to the shared mailbox.  People who have been given access to the shared mailbox will have to remember to check the mailbox for new mail.

  • Contact Group - a contact group is created within your contacts and only visible by you (or if it's in a shared mailbox, whoever has access to the mailbox).  A contact group does  NOT have a unique email address that cannot be emailed by others.  It's a very lightweight, quick solution but has limitations. Instructions for creating a contact group.

  • Listserv - Listservs allow the creation of and subscription to email lists. These lists are configurable by the list owners and are used to distribute mail among subscribers.  They have a address.

Google Group vs. Shared Mailbox Comparison Chart

Functionality Google Shared Mailbox Google Group
Number of people who can access mail 25 Unlimited
Email delivery Email is delivered to a single mailbox Email delivery is flexible, similar to a Listserv:
-Email can be sprayed
-Email can be consolidated into a digest or summary
-Email can be made viewable on the Group’s webpage
Client setup Shared mailbox can be used with mail clients (Outlook, etc.) in addition to web access.  You might want to use this for specialized functions, such a mail merges Group can not be directly accessed via a mail client
Automated report delivery Yes Yes
Individuals can "send as" the group address
Yes, but emails will show that they were sent "on behalf of" the individual.  Sending anonymously is possible, but requires advanced configuration, and you should CC or BCC the shared mailbox address because your sent emails will not appear in the shared account's sent mail
Yes, but only when replying from the group page, and no attachments can be sent
Membership controls Changes to membership are managed by the Computing Accounts and Passwords office Group managers can add and delete members from groups
Permissions Not applicable Groups can be given access to documents, calendars, and other Google Apps features, and you can invite a group to a meeting using Google calendar
Labels Yes, and others accessing the mailbox will see your labels
You can label mail from a Google Group once it is in your Inbox, but others will not see your labels