Google Groups is pretty much dead. And with a lack of investment and updates from Google, now’s the time to start looking for an alternative to Google Groups.

We know it’s difficult when you’ve invested a lot of time and effort, trying to make your online community platform or collaborative tool work, but there comes a time when it makes more sense to look for something that does a better job.

This article will briefly explain what it is about Google Groups that makes it so unpopular and take a look at some Google Groups alternatives.

Why you need an alternative to Google Groups

Google Groups is on the out. The platform is unpopular with both community owners and members alike for a number of reasons, and although it may still be used by businesses to organise their communications and team collaboration, more and more companies and individuals are choosing to abandon it too.

So, how exactly did one of the world’s biggest tech companies get it so wrong?

User-unfriendly

The main complaint made about Google Groups is that it is not at all user friendly. In fact, it’s worse than that. It’s too complicated for the average user to get on with. 

For instance, the Google Groups dashboard is quite cluttered, with lots of different options, menus and settings. It’s not intuitive, and takes a while to get used to navigating it. Also, in Google Groups email inboxes, messages are not shown sequentially as a thread. This makes it difficult to follow a conversation through from start to finish.

This is a big no-no for a community platform. 

The thing people want the most from a community or collaborative tool is to easily jump right in and start connecting with other people. If it’s not intuitive to use from the get-go, it’s likely that members won’t find it easy to use either, so you can wave goodbye to any form of engagement. 

Lack of updates

This ties in with the previous point. Google Groups failed to update their system and User Interface (UI) often enough. This means that as it stands, Google Groups uses an old UI that feels dated and is complicated and annoying to use. This also means that you won’t get much of the modern functionality that many of us are accustomed to in more advanced apps and platforms.

Complicated email system

For some unknown reason (probably lack of investment and interest), Google never got around to integrating Gmail with Google Groups. Instead, users have to manage two email inboxes if they use both these Google services. Even worse than that, is the fact that the Google Groups email system is horrendously complicated to use with messy email threads. This makes it no good for quick, painless and transparent communications that group members want and expect. 

No good for team working

Although it has been used by many companies to help with collaborative working, Google Groups was not designed for that at all. Google originally bought out Deja News in 2001 for it’s powerful search engine features, and simply tagged the Google Groups title onto its group communication feature. It was never really set up for business purposes, but more as a news sharing platform.

The ultimate Google Group alternative?

Dedicated community platforms provide the answer to your problems.

They allow you to create a community app that suits your requirements, with communication tools such as posts, threads, private messaging, scheduling tools, polls, live streaming, etc. They also allow you to integrate with other tools. 

One of the main advantages of using an independent community platform is that you get full control over your data and analytics. With Google Groups, you get very limited stats and data on your group, with Google keeping the rest hidden. 

A community platform builder like Disciple has a simple UI, allowing you to add members quickly and easily. It is designed to increase community engagement, with social media-type features such as news feeds, live streams, etc. 

Crucially, Disciple also has a built-in community management system, so you can get full data analytics and insights in an easy-to-use console.

Final words

Google Groups has never really offered a full solution to team communication and collaborative working. It’s too complicated, limited in features, and poorly designed.

Thankfully, there are plenty of community platform builders you can use instead.

At Disciple, we offer a good all-in-one community management platform.