If you are in charge of a club or organization, using a group such as Google Groups or Yahoo Groups to organize your membership and manage emails is a terrific idea. While both offerings are similar, they each have their pros and cons.
First, setting up either a Yahoo Group or a Google Group is pretty easy. You must have the appropriate account type to begin, either a Yahoo ID or a Google account. If you have neither a Yahoo nor a Google account, they’re easy to get and free. Once you’ve established your account, you can access their “Group” feature and pretty much follow the prompts.
Both Yahoo Groups and Google Groups allow you to choose your Group name provided it isn’t already taken and isn’t obscene. For example, when creating a Google Group as a test for this article, the group name “BananasGrapesApples” was automatically rejected because it contained the word “rape” in it. Once you’ve named your group, the group email name is created which is essentially [email protected] or [email protected]
You’re able to specify public or private membership at with both types of groups as well as choose a newsletter-only type membership. Once you’ve set up the basics, you need to add members to your group. This can be accomplished by either sending email invitations or entering members individually. Depending on the size of your group, this step can be tedious with both Google Groups as well as with Yahoo Groups.
The Google Groups interface is easier to use both as a manager and as a member. When entering members from an existing email list in Yahoo Groups the link to finalize the steps is off-screen and you must scroll to get to it. This is fine for someone who knows they have to do this but new Yahoo Groups owners may get confused.
Google Groups is also easier for non-Google account holders to access. With Yahoo Groups, a non-Yahoo account holder must establish a Yahoo ID and then “link” that ID to their email address. With Google Groups, the member simply signs up for a Google Account using their existing email address so there is no “linking” required.
Member profiles in Google Groups are easier too. Simply load a photo, type in some details, and fellow members will see a thumbnail of the photo and a brief synopsis of the profile when they access the member area. In Yahoo Groups, it’s easy enough to do the same thing, but the information isn’t shown to other members. To see a profile, members must click on each individual’s name.
Yahoo Groups has a calendar feature but Google Groups does not. This feature is useful for entering activities and events and sending automatic email reminders to the members. Google has a separate calendar feature for its members but not a group one.
Yahoo Groups also has sections for posting photos, databases, and links that Google Groups lacks however the Pages section of Google Groups lets users create simple web pages where they can add images, hyperlinks, and text. The Files section of Google Groups allows members to upload individual files to share with the group.
Both Yahoo Groups and Google Groups allow users to choose how to receive their emails from the group: as individual emails or as a daily summary of all emails sent that day.
Google Groups is easier to use overall. Navigation is intuitive and clean. If you don’t need the calendar function, Google Groups is most-likely going to be the easiest for everyone involved in your group. If you do need the calendar, Yahoo Groups is worth a look.