Wednesday, January 24, 2007

A Secret Weapon for organizing clubs, and non-profit oranizations -- Google Groups (now out of beta)

Coordinating the volunteers of small clubs and organizations is a challenge. Email has made this communication quicker, but not always surer. You not only need to swap ideas among members, you also need something of a repository of ideas so that you have continuity as volunteers come on and off the group.

Google Groups gives clubs, interest groups, and non-profit organizations the tools they need to communicate with their members. The new version (released today) extends their services beyond just delivery of email. Google Groups now lets you share web pages, and resource files and all of the services have custom permission settings which allow you to be selective about who sees and edits the information on those messages, files, and web pages.

Today's Announcement from Google Groups:

New Options for Custom, Private Web Pages Take Groups Beyond Message Boards

Starting today, the latest version of Google Groups can give your group its own easy-to-build home on the web for sharing and maintaining information, including tools for creating customized web pages that help you give your group its own special look and feel. Whether you're running a forum for technology lovers, sharing the latest reviews from your book or wine club, posting practice schedules and team information for your soccer league, or planning a neighborhood barbecue, Google Groups gives you a colorful, central place to collect photos, documents, links, messages, and more over time.

Web products for groups have traditionally focused on an email thread or message board format; they've been largely text based. Google Groups, however, now provides a richer forum for group collaboration with the following new features:
  • Pages. Create and contribute to shared web pages with simple drag, drops, cuts, pastes, and clicks (i.e., no coding).
  • Customized look and feel. Select pictures, colors, and styles to express your group's style.
  • Member profiles. See who else is in the group and read their profiles. Personalize your own profile with a photo and other details.
  • File sharing. Post documents that anyone in the group can access.
  • Easy reading of group discussions. Read easily in a Gmail-style interface.
Group owners have a variety of options for managing access to the group. They can choose to make all content completely private and visible only to group members, or they can offer their pages and resources up to the world. There are also options for controlling viewing and editing capabilities for individual group members.
qv: Google Groups

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