Google Groups allows you to assemble a group of people for an email distribution list, a shared inbox, or to use as a permissions group for various Google features such as Drive. Groups is a separate app in Google Workspace and will not include a typical Gmail inbox, Calendar, or Drive space. Each group is assigned a unique email address used for communication and permissions. You can learn more about Groups on Google’s office Groups support page. You can request the creation of a new Google Group from the ITS service portal (requires login).
Groups are best used when membership to a group may change regularly. All assigned managers in a group will be able to update the member list as needed. Check out our page on managing Google Groups.
Groups as an Email List
One widespread use of Groups is to create an email distribution list. One example of this at Swarthmore is the FacStaff digest. This will allow you to either directly add or invite members and then use the unique email address for the group to send emails and updates out to all members.
Groups as a Shared Inbox
Groups have a space that allows all members to see messages sent to the group email address that looks like an online forum or message board. This allows all members to manage incoming messages. You can also set the group to forward incoming messages to all members automatically. This means they will receive an email with that message that they can directly respond to from their email address. You can also give some or all members the ability to respond using the group email address.
If you need a shared inbox with a more regular list of members or need those members to coordinate their response to incoming emails better, consider setting up a Delegated Account.
Groups Used for Permissions
You can set up a Google Group to easily grant all members the same level of permissions for various Google services. This has mainly been used to grant permissions to departmental Google Shared Drives and other folders and files in Drive. You can also use it to give users access to calendars and invite the entire group to a calendar event. In any Google application that sets permissions based on email addresses, you can use a Google Group email to grant permissions to all group members.