G Suite Admin's Guide to Google Groups

G Suite Admin's Guide to Google Groups

This guide provides an overview of Google Groups in G Suite Business. Starting with an overview of Admin-created groups, you’ll learn about the Groups feature set and how to create groups in the G Suite Admin Panel. We hlightlight a tool you can use to provision users/groups through Active Directory, if you prefer that alternative.  Then, you’ll learn about how to enable the separate Groups for Business service, allowing your employees to create their own groups. Finally, the guide concludes with an alternative using Google Groups, called Shared Inboxes.

Table of Contents:

Section #1: Definitions

  • Admin Groups

  • Groups for Business

  • Shared Inboxes

  • Organization Units

Section #2: Admin Groups

  • Create Admin Groups, Aliases, and adjust settings

  • Create your Groups with Google Cloud Directory Sync

  • Watchpoints - External Membership & Public Settings

  • User experience - Receiving Email from Google Groups

  • User experience - Sending Mail as a Google Group

Section #3: Groups for Business

  • Introducing Google Groups for Business

  • Set your Organization’s Google Groups for Business Policy.

  • User experience - Working with Groups for Business

  • Overview of Access Permissions

Section #4: Shared Inboxes

  • How do shared inboxes work in G Suite?

  • Turn on Mail Delegation in the Admin Console

  • Delegate the shared inbox to team members


  • Admin Groups. We’ll use the term “Admin Groups” through this guide to refer to Groups that are created & managed by G Suite Administrators. G Suite administrators can create groups for your entire organization using the Groups Control in the Admin console.

  • Groups for Business. A separate service that allows your employees to create groups & manage groups, without access to the admin Console. Groups for Business will also be used to adjust settings for your Admin-created Groups.

  • Shared Inboxes. We’ll use the term “shared inboxes” which is a user account that’s been configured to be shared amongst a team. For example, you may want sales@yourdomain.com to have it’s own separate inbox vs functioning as a distribution list.

  • G Suite Organizational Units (OUs). Under the User Management tab, organization units exist to give different settings to a group of users or devices within your company. OUs exist solely for the purpose of applying admin settings (eg: restricting access to Google Drive for a subset of users), and in no way function as group email or distribution list. Organizational Units do not have a team email address and are simply an administrative aspect of User Management. OUs are _not_ for distribution lists or employee collaboration

Create Admin Groups

How to create a G Suite Admin Group (Distribution List)

G Suite Admin Groups.png

From the G Suite Admin Console, select the “Groups” Tile. Often, G Suite Admin Groups are hidden in the “More Controls” section at the bottom of your admin console. When you create a group, you need to choose the Access Level. Start with “team” and you can allow anyone to email the group by checking the relevant box. Otherwise, people outside your G Suite organization will not be able to email that address.


Create Aliases & Adjust Google Group Settings

G Suite Admin Group Settings.png

After you create a group, click the group name to Manage Users, Adjust Settings, and add aliases. 

  • Manage Users. You can directly add members from this panel. Keep in mind, you can also have external parties, or people with @gmail.com accounts in your Admin Group.

  • Access Settings.  If you click to adjust group settings, you will be taken to the Groups for Business Service.

  • Aliases. Use this tab to set up multiple aliases. Any email sent to an alias will be received by members of the Google Group.  For instance: Google Group Name: sales@yourdomain.com. Aliases: westcoastsales@yourdomain.com, eastcoastsales@yourdomain.com, etc.


Create Groups with Google Cloud Directory Sync

Active Directory and G Suite Sync.jpg

If you want to manager users/groups with Active Directory, you can use this free tool to sync data to your G Suite account. This is a one way sync, and wil will push all users/groups in AD to G Suite. You can now manage users through AD vs the G Suite Admin Console. Our team provides guidance for Active Directory, so please reach out about this. Here’s the tool:




Watchpoints - External Membership & Public Settings

External Membership. You have the ability to enable external members to be invited or request to join a group. Be careful and be aware of this feature.


How do Google Groups look for employees?

Gmail Filters for Groups.png

Employees will receive emails sent to a Google Group (eg: marketing@) directly in their Gmail inbox. You can check the “to” field to see if the email was sent to the individual or a group the individual is a member of.

Pro-tip → Create Filters to automatically apply labels to group email. Instruct your staff to create “Filters.”  

How to respond from a Google Group?

Send email as a Google Group.png

If your employees want to respond on behalf of a group (eg: Marketing@), you’ll need to configure “sending as” permissions. Within the Gmail interface, select the gear icon, and then settings. Select “Accounts” → Add your Google Group here.  

Introducing Google Groups for Business.


Access Google Groups for Business.png

You’ll notice that all access settings for G Suite Admin Groups take you to the Groups for Business Console. Groups for Business is actually a separate service with a ton of features. You can allow users to create groups their own groups, and manage organization wide settings for your admin groups through Groups for Business. See Groups for Business under the Admin Console → Apps → G Suite Apps →  Groups for Business.


Set your Organization’s Google Groups for Business Policy.


Settings for Groups for Business.png

Define how people will use Google Groups for Business at your organization. You may want to consider restricting the creation of new groups to administrators.



Employee Access to Groups for Business

Employees can navigate to the Groups for Business service through the Apps Icon in the top right hand corner of their account.


IF you allow people to create their own groups, users will see a red button


Navigate to Google Groups.png
Create your own Google Groups.png

Adjust Google Group Settings


From the Groups for Business Service, you have a variety of settings for your group, including members, messages, settings, permissions, roles, information.

How do shared inboxes work in G Suite?


Mail Delegation.png

In some cases, you may want to configure a shared inbox as opposed to a Google Group. A ‘shared inbox’ is basically a user account that’s been delegated to core team members. With a shared inbox, employees will not get group email in their primary gmail inbox, like with Google Groups.


You first must enable the ability to delegate inboxes through the admin console. Apps→ Gmail→ User Settings → Mail Delegation 


Once you’ve created the shared inbox under “Users,” you need to log into the the account and configure mail delegation.

Gmail Settings → Accounts → Grant Access to your account


Once this is complete, the delegated user will always be logged into the Shared Inbox. Configuring mail delegation is much better alternative to have a shared password that people use to login and logout.