A couple of weeks back, I decided it is high time we had a groups for my family. I have never really liked the yahoo groups interface – so I chose google groups. Also, I had am implicit faith in the people who gave us google(the search engine) and gmail. But that was for nought! Here is my gripe list for google groups. And considering that some of these features would be so easy to have, I am surprised that google groups don’t have it.
1. The new messages don’t appear on top. It doesn’t refresh, to show the messages I have read as ‘read’. Instead, I always have a lot of ‘new’ messages in the group message board. And the only way to find out which are the really new ones are to remember the number of posts there were under each category previously and see if they have increased.
2. As an owner, when I add people to the list, there is no way for me to find out if they have received my invitation and signed in at least once, unless they actually post a message.
3. It doesn’t allow photo postings. You have to email it to the whole group!
4. After I added about 15 people, I couldn’t add any more new people. It said I am adding too many people and I have to type in an explanation. What the hell! I am the owner – I am starting a new groups – don’t you expect me to be adding a lot of people in one single day, especially if it is the day I started the account.
5. And the whole UI is not that intuitive, for non gmail users.
6. Since the message board UI is not that great, most people tend to access from their mail boxes, which means that they sometimes reply with all the previous messages below. Try reading it as a thread later and you get thoroughly confused.
Now, IMHO, a good groups software would have a blog-like interface. So a private blog which allows users to post, without going into the complicated settings page. Only the owner can change the rest of the settings. It allows pictures to be posted. Links to be added. User profiles (with contact addresses) to be made available easily. And commenting on a post seems so much a better way than replying to mails. Well, I don’t know of one yet – if you do, do let me know.