Google Groups is finally getting a facelift. The Mountain View-based company has announced that a new interface is coming later this year.
The beta version is already available for those who want to try the new UI. However, there is a catch. Right now, you can sign up for it only if you are the super admin of a firm that uses G Suite. Others will have to wait.
Let's move to the juicy part now. The next version of Google Groups will have a modern, fresh look. It will get controls that other Google services already do. However, some advanced features will only be available in the previous version for the next few months.
The revamped version of the Google Groups will have plenty to offer. First off, it will provide improved navigation, with settings consolidated into one section. Group creation has also been made simpler with a quick three-step wizard.
Searching for something will also be easier now, thanks to new filtering and search option. The 'My groups' page has also been simplified, allowing users to see all their groups on the same page. Messaging will also be more intuitive now and topics have been rebranded as conversations. Gmail already uses this naming convention. The Members page has also been updated, providing swift access to member subscriptions and permissions.
The overall theme is basically consistent with Google's latest version of Material Design. Even though the look is getting a major overhaul, the layout remains largely familiar.
The new version of Google Groups still lacks some features
Some features are under development and not available on the new Google Groups yet. For these, you will have to use classic Groups, which is what Google is calling the previous version now.
Collaborative Inboxes, message moderation, shared labels, subscription management, access to moderated messages and welcome messages are not available on the new version yet. The new iteration not ready for smartphones either as Google works to refine the UI.
If you want to use one of the older features, you can revert to classic Groups whenever you want. After the beta, the new Google Groups will be available for all G Suite customers. Later this year, everyone will be migrated to the new version, with no option to go back to classic Groups.
Google is also considering some features for deprecation. These include collaborative inbox features, tags and categories, group types, topic types, custom groups, and other features. If you don't want some of them axed, you can provide your feedback to Google and tell the company why they are important for you. Presumably, if a substantial amount of users vote in favor of a particular feature, it will stay.
Compared to Google's other tools, Google Groups didn't get a UI update. Needless to say, it was long overdue. Groups is used by many coders and professionals to communicate with workmates and they will surely welcome the change.
It remains to be seen when exactly Google will roll out the new version for everyone.