Understanding the Difference Between Contact Groups and Google Groups

Audience: Faculty, Staff and Students

This KB Article References: Google Groups
This Information is Intended for: Faculty, Staff, Students
Last Updated: July 19, 2017

Email list groups created in Google Groups are different from the contact groups you can create in your Contacts in Google Mail.

The primary difference is that a contact group is for your personal use, while a Google Group can be used by more than one person (because it has its own email address, so it can be shared in the Groups directory and others can send messages to it; contact groups don't have their own email addresses, so no one else can send messages to them).

Thus, if Bob and Mary both need to contact the same group of people, they should request a Google Group Email list rather than creating and managing two separate personal contact groups.

Summary of Differences between Contact Groups and Google Groups

Personal Contact Groups

  • Only group owner can use
  • Created through Google Contacts
  • Managed through Contacts
  • Can share docs and sites with group (cannot share calendars)
  • Recipients see email in inbox only

Create a personal contact group

Google Group Email List

  • Group managers, members, and/or campus community can use
  • Must be requested
  • Managed through Google Groups
  • Can share docs, sites and calendars with group
  • Recipients can see email in inbox, through the online forum, or both

Request a Google Group

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