Google Groups is a service for individuals to create discussion groups around a shared interest, as well as a platform that can be used by businesses as a communication tool. 

But with many Google Groups alternatives on offer from established companies and plenty of new platforms on the scene is it finally time to wave goodbye?

Finding the best alternative to Google Groups for your community or team offers many benefits in improving and streamlining communication channels. 

If you want your brand to stand out from the crowd and you’re looking to deliver the best possible experience for your customers or followers, now’s the time to research alternatives to Google Groups. 

What is Google Groups used for?

Google Groups was founded in 2001 with the intent of offering access to the decades of Usenet archives acquired by Google. Since 2004, Google added the option for users to create their own discussion groups.

Nowadays businesses and communities have found applications for Google Groups as a forum, chat room, announcement board or a tool for collaboration. 4 typical uses for Google Groups are:

  1.       Collaborative Inbox
  2.       Email List
  3.       Web Forum
  4.       Question & Answer Forum

The downsides to using Google Groups

There are plenty of reasons to say goodbye and find an alternative to Google Groups that better suits how you want to communicate, discuss, and collaborate. Here are just a few of the downfalls of Google Groups:

Privacy concerns

Google Groups has been consistently criticised for how it handles members personal profiles and data. Information on Google groups is stored indefinitely and can also be read by external services. Searching for someone’s real name online can reveal personal data from their Google Groups activity. It is possible for the information posted in Google Groups to be discovered, even if this was posted decades previously.

Users have to consider whether using Google Groups and putting their data in the hands of a tech giant is worth it. It is often said if you are not paying for a service then you are the product, not the customer.

Google Groups alternatives are available where the data produced is controlled by the people using the service not the people offering it.

Platform changes

Google has previously made unannounced changes to Google Groups. Most notably the advanced search function. This left it extremely difficult to find posts without knowing specific keywords or knowing which Google Group the post originates from.

Whether you use Google Groups as a source of discussion or as a method of managing your business. At the very least you want to know beforehand when platform changes are going to occur. A clear explanation of why the changes are happening and how to navigate them would also be nice.

Again, this comes back to control and whether you can find more from a Google Group alternative.

Spam

There will always be a battle blocking spam on open platforms such as Google Groups. However, it feels as though the spammers might be getting the upper hand. When you have to search through pointless spam to find worthwhile content it might be worth finding an alternative to Google Groups

Just imagine one of your group members logging on to your Google Group to engage in a discussion or ask a question, but they’re bombarded by spam. How do you think they feel? That would be enough to turn most people off. 

If you’ve noticed a decrease in member engagement on Google Groups, there’s a good chance that spam is causing people to click away from your content.

Better collaborative inbox options

Google Groups is not user-friendly and primarily is used the same as email communication. It is not efficient for managing workflow, sales, and providing customer support. Google Groups alternatives exist that provide superior services to match your specific team needs.

One area in which Google Groups alternatives score highly is customer support. Many platforms offer customer support teams an easy and straightforward way to open, assign and resolve queries, leading to a much better user experience.

With Google Groups, some of the main areas of complaint and frustration are:

  • Threaded replies cause confusion as they don’t get shown in sequential order.
  • Emails lose continuity as they come from the individual user. Continuing email chains from another team member can cause important emails to be lost.
  • Replies go to everyone in the group, increasing the number of irrelevant emails members receive.
  • Inability to integrate multiple Google Group inboxes into a single dashboard.
  • Team members struggle to find areas for improvement. Google Groups don’t provide any analytics, reports, or metrics to discover areas for improvement.

Why community platforms outperform Google Groups

Independent community platforms offer a great alternative to Google Groups. 

Many community platforms offer improved discussion forums and communication tools.

One area in which community platforms outscore Google Groups is control of data. This is an important area, as most businesses rely on data to inform their decisions these days. Community platforms allow you access to your data and the ability to create insights. 

For instance, you’ll be able to see the demographics of your community in terms of age, gender, location, etc. This allows you to shape your community to suit these statistics, rather than just guessing which direction to take things.

Also, you can use your newly-found data insights to customise the look and feel of your community, something that can’t be done in Google Groups.

Disciple can offer improvements in all these areas to give you the best alternative to Google Groups. We are a community platform that creates websites and apps for organisations without them having to see a single line of code. We take care of the technology, so you focus on getting the most out of your community, organisation, or business.

We are a fully secure and GDPR compliant platform where you own your data. You’re kept informed of all updates to the platform with communication to explain the benefits they offer.

Customise your platform with all the features your team needs to operate as efficiently as it can. Create unlimited groups for messaging and discussion, easily organise different threads to make sure nothing gets missed, organise events and meeting with your customisable calendar.

Your Disciple-built Google Groups alternative allows you to control every aspect from a single console. It’s simple to use allowing you to communicate with, manage and understand your members. With an intuitive content library for your group’s documentation and analytics to gain insight into how your team works.

Final words

Whatever your reason for looking at Google Groups alternatives Disciple has a solution to match it. Our community platforms put you in total control to communicate, collaborate, and work with your team. Find out how we can build a custom home for your team that offers meaningful features to improve how you communicate.

Disciple has helped teams migrate from Google Groups to a custom replacement they can work with not around. Get in touch today to learn more.