Google Groups: Group vs Listserv

Many users inquire about the differences between Google Groups and Listservs. Although Listserv was scheduled to be retired, this has been delayed indefinitely due to some of the unique benefits it provides. Below is a comparison of Google Groups and Listservs.

Google Groups


  • Collaborative; it is easy to share Google calendars, documents, and other apps
  • Simple to request and are delivered to the user faster; email lists (a type of Group) are the fastest
  • Allow emails to be sent to far larger numbers of people than regular email
  • Can create Groups based on course lists that can be managed by instructors and TAs, refreshed daily
  • Best option for those in the BAA
  • Easy to use and troubleshoot; intuitive


  • External users are possible, but the Group needs to be configured to hold them and too many can cause problems
  • If non-registered users need to be added to a Course Group, further technical support is needed (Common in Duluth)



  • Useful for contacting those outside of the University (external contacts) especially for research
    • External communications is the number one benefit of Listserv
  • Can have sublists that allow for group specification and makes it easier to send personalized messages
  • Allow emails to be sent to far larger numbers of people than regular email
  • Refreshed nightly
  • PeopleSoft data can be tied in (example: Course listservs)
  • Request to convert a Listserv to Google Groups


  • Not a platform for sharing calendars and documents except by email
  • Email only
  • High learning curve
  • More difficult to troubleshoot and support

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