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Google Groups, Resource Calendars and Shared Accounts

Google Groups
  • Users view messages through Groups interface which displays messages as discussion forums
  • No sharing limitations, unlimited number of users subscribed to the collaborative inbox
  • Can send as the Group email address
  • Has moderation - can have a moderator get messages first then release to group or "assign" to individual group member via a manual process.  Multiple moderators can be assigned.
  • No license fee associated, no limit to how many can be set up
  • More on Google Groups

Google Shared Account
  • User account that is delegated to multiple people
  • Can migrate data from existing shared mailbox to Google shared account
  • Can have labels and all other functionality of individual mailboxes
  • Can only delegate up to 25 people in one shared account
  • Can have shared calendar associated with the shared account
  • License fee associated just as with individual user accounts
  • More on Shared Accounts

Google Calendar Resource
  • Calendar owned by the domain and not associated with any individual account
  • Can assign a user account administrative rights over a Google Resource Calendar
  • Ability to reserve or invite Google Resource Calendars such as
    • Conference rooms
    • Vehicles
    • Equipment, projectors, etc
  • No costs associated and unlimited number of calendars can be created

The steps below will help you identify if a resource/conference room will need to be converted from a user account to a Google resource account.

  1. Create an invite in Google Calendar 
  2. Click on “Add rooms”
  3. Scroll down until you find your agency
  4. Click on your agency
  5. If the resource/conference room you are looking for is listed, it is already a Google resource account, no further action is needed.  If it is not there, it may be a user account; continue on to step 6.
  6. Agency submits a ticket to have a new resource calendar created. Suggested wording for the ticket: "Request that the specific missing user accounts from “rooms” be changed to a Google resource account." 
  7. Once the new resource calendar has been created, the agency will need to submit a ticket to delete the user account in Active Directory. Suggested wording for the ticket: "Ask the VCCC to delete the specific user account." The account will be deleted from Active Directory and Google.


If you have converted a user account to a Google resource account, we recommend completing the following tasks:  

  1. Communicate the change to end-users, and share how to book conference rooms from the "rooms" tab.  Instructions
  2. Because the existing resources (e.g. calendar events) from the user account cannot be automatically transferred to the resource calendar, follow the steps below: 
    • Export all events from existing user account calendars to a .ics file before it is deleted. Instructions
    • Import the exported events into the appropriate resource calendar. Instructions

Google Groups vs Shared Accounts

Shared Account 
 Cost per License  No Fee Account Fee 
# Users Supported  Unlimited internal  25* 
 Distribution list Yes  No 
 Access Controls Yes  No 
 Custom Individual Settings Yes  No 
Reply on Behalf of  Yes  Yes 
Migrate Historical Data  No  Yes 
Calendar  Yes  Yes 

Frequently Asked Questions - Groups

Can Group membership be forced, meaning users cannot leave a Google Group?
Yes, users cannot leave a Google Group unless removed by the Group's Owner or Manager.

How can I control which users can send emails to a distribution list?
Open a ticket with the VCCC to request send permissions for a distribution list.

How do I add a user directly to a Group?
Manage the members of a Group using COV Account Center. Click on "Manage My Groups" under "Group Management."

Can I turn off the conversation mode for a Group?
Yes, within the desired Google Group, select Manage > Information > Web View Customization.

If I receive a message from a Group in my inbox and reply from my personal inbox, does that also post to the Group?

What is the difference between a Web Forum and a Q&A Forum?

Can we send canned responses within Google Groups?
Yes, canned responses can be used in both the Google Mail and Google Groups interface. See this resource or additional information.

Can a user turn off the Groups notifications?
Yes, notifications can be disabled on a per user basis (Manage > Members > All Members > Actions > Change Delivery Settings), or you can create a filter within your inbox to automatically route those emails to a specified label.

Is there any way to tell that a message in a Google Group has been responded to, even if someone responds as an individual, and doesn't copy the Group?
Yes, the message will be marked as "Viewed" if it has been read by a different member. Once opened in the Google Group it will show as being read/unread ONLY for the user viewing. A reply all from Google Mail will add a response to the post, indicating to the other members that there has been a response.

Can a Google Group be accessed via a mobile device just like a shared account? Can a user have both their user account and a Google Group account accessible via a mobile device (tablet, smartphone, etc.)?
Google Groups can be accessed via mobile devices through the mobile browser only as there is no app available at this time. Alternatively, messages sent to a Google Group will also be sent to Google Mail which is accessible through the Gmail app on mobile devices.

Does a Google Group have its own calendar and email address?
Google Groups do have their own email addresses. A secondary calendar would need to be made and assigned to the Google Group.

Is there a way to see a list of members of a Google Group (distribution list)?
Yes, there is the ability to see the members of that distribution list. There are also settings to determine what user(s) should be able to see those members.

Click on the desired group from within Google Groups. On the top right side of the page, click "Members."

Once a request has been attended to in a Google Group, can the user delete the email?
Best practice would be to apply a tag or category to completed requests instead of deleting the email, as there is no way to recover deleted email from a Google Group.

Google Groups Quick Hints
  • Attachments - Google Groups do support attachments
  • External Emails - Google Groups do allow emails from external email addresses.  Group owners and managers have the ability to restrict this if necessary
  • Message Limit - Messages to a Google Group have the same 25 GB size limit
  • Mailbox Size Limit - The Google Groups user interface does NOT have a maximum size limit, unlike a user's mailbox or delegated mailbox, which is limited to 25 MB.

Frequently Asked Questions - Calendars

What is the benefit of a Google resource calendar versus a secondary calendar?
The benefit depends on how the calendar would be used. As a general rule, resource calendars should be used for reserving time and secondary calendars should be used to collaborate with a team such as team vacations or a project team calendar.

Does a Google Group have its own calendar and email address?
Google Groups do have their own email address. A secondary calendar would need to be made and assigned to the Google Group.

If a user creates the secondary calendar, and the user leaves the organization, what happens to the secondary calendar?
The calendar exists as long as other users have access to it.

Is a resource calendar required to have an owner?
No, an owner is not required for a resource calendar -- an owner is optional.

Additional Information