Google Groups has launched a more feature-filled user interface for all users after first announcing the coming changes back in May.
"If you haven't tried Groups in a while you'll notice improved options for managing your groups and longtime users may be surprised by all the features we have added along the way," wrote Ryan Falor, product manager for Google Groups, in a June 24 post on the Official Gmail Blog.
A key new feature "is the ability to create an inbox that allows you to collaboratively share, distribute and track responsibilities with others," wrote Falor. "Imagine you and a few friends are organizing an event for your school and want a single email address to coordinate with vendors, parents, and volunteers. Members of the group can work together to manage email, assign items to each other, and mark items resolved. This can be a great feature for teams seeking a really simple way to get things done without sharing passwords or losing track."
Also new are several moderation tools to make managing the forums easier and faster, he wrote. "For example, you can now use canned responses in forums and use streamlined options to make moderating forum posts easier. And if you are on the go, you can browse and moderate your groups with our mobile website."
More details on the changes and how they function are available in the Google Groups help center.
Using the new Groups interface, users can better organize their discussions with others using favorites and folders and can now more easily find unread posts, according to Google. In addition, users can now use rich-text editing to customize their posts with fonts, colors and images, while also adding photos, nicknames and automatic translations more easily.
Also available are new keyboard shortcuts and a streamlined design to make the Groups easier to navigate, as well as the ability to access Google Groups on Android or Apple iOS devices.
Back in May, Google announced that it would soon be transitioning Groups users to a new, updated interface to improve their experiences and capabilities with the service. The new Groups user interface was part of a one-year transition dating back to May 2012, when a new look for Groups was created and redeveloped, according to Google. The new interface was slated for a June 2013 arrival.
The new design also offers a collaborative inbox and the ability to move posts to a different discussion, mark it as a duplicate or assign it to someone else. Also new is the ability to assign customizable roles and permissions for people using Groups.
Groups users will now automatically be transitioned to the new UI and will not have the option to go back to the old one, according to Google.
Google continually spends a lot of time working to improve and refine many of its services for users.
In December 2012, Google introduced deeper social media features for its Google+ service by adding online communities where people can meet, discuss and share their passions on a wide variety of subjects, from sports to collecting to cooking and more.
Google+ has been around since June 2011, when it was started by the company as an online offering to compete with Facebook, or at least to give Google a piece of the social networking pie. Users were able to share events and news online with others in their "circles," then connect with others in their friends' circles, too.
The new online communities include all kinds of interest groups, from cars to books to gardening and more. The communities can be set up to be open to anyone on Google+ or they can be private groups closed to the general public.