Google Apps Adds Groups

Google Apps (s goog), the suite of productivity applications that’s a favorite of WWD, has had Groups, a discussion group application, added to its array of tools. In addition to providing email using your own domain, Google Apps offers a number of ways for businesses and organizations to collaborate, including Docs, Spreadsheets, Calendars and over 20 other applications. But competitors like Zoho have had discussion groups for some time, so Google definitely needed to catch up.

The Google Apps version of Google Groups looks much like the public version of Groups that can be used by anyone. It has a plain but functional interface. However, groups created through Google Apps can be branded with an organization’s logo, and can be administered through the Google Apps dashboard to, for example, make Groups visible only to those with email addresses from the organization.

This new feature is not available in the free Standard Edition of Google Apps. To get access to Groups, you must purchase Google Apps Premier Edition, which costs $50 per user per year (a free 30-day trial is available). Groups are also available to users of Google Apps Education Edition, which, despite the name, is available to any registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in the U.S., as well as to schools. The Premier Edition also offers video hosting through Google Video, technical support, uptime guarantees, email archiving, and other features.

Do you use Google Apps? Will the addition of Groups enhance your collaboration abilities?