Google Apps get Group collaboration

Business and educational users can now manage the collaboration features of Google Groups from within Google Apps
Written by Matthew Broersma, Contributor

Google Groups collaboration features have been added to Google Apps, giving business and educational users the ability to share documents, videos and other materials and communicate to a group via email or a web interface.

Google Groups already has these features for individual users, but it is now part of the Google Apps family and, like other applications, when used by a company or school it can be administered from a centralised control panel.

Groups will now be available as part of the educational and premier versions of Apps, but not the free standard edition, Google said.

"This launch is a major expansion to the mailing list functionality and content sharing we released earlier this year," wrote Google product manager Shimrit Ben-Yair in a blog post.

System administrators must activate Groups via the Apps control panel, and can manage whether and how users can create groups, Google said.

The service includes searchable archives and the ability to share resources such as documents, spreadsheets, presentations, shared folders, sites, calendars or video with a group, Google said. Administrators can also send messages on behalf of a group.

"[Users] can choose to receive communications directly to their email inbox, in a digest format, or in the Groups forum view, and can access all the information in the groups archive, without the intervention of an IT administrator," wrote Google senior product manager Rajen Sheth in a blog post.

In November, Google updated its tool for plugging Google Apps into the BlackBerry Enterprise Server, adding support for more devices per server, and in October the company added a batch-export feature to Google Docs.

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