Collaborative Inbox

We currently use Google Groups Collaborative Inbox, an email tool to manage certain of our email addresses, allowing the members of the group to view all inbound conversations and interact with our customers.

Since we all work for a living it is not always practical to forward all inbound emails to a single person, as we are sometimes busy and cannot respond immediately. Sending emails to multiple parties creates the problem that you do not always know if your other colleague(s) have already responded.

The Collaborative Inbox allows everyone to see all communications, irrespective of who has dealt with the issue. Each person can also setup, per group, if you want to receive a copy of the inbound messages, either as they come in or as a digest, say, once a day.

From the web interface (the link is provided at the bottom of each email message) one can view the specific conversation or all the messages in the inbox.

Any member can reply via his/her email program directly. All responses will automatically be recorded as part of the group conversation.

Primary contacts

For each group there should be one or more primary contacts. These members should setup their group membership to ideally receive emails as they come in. These users should then either reply to the messages directly, or assign it to another member in the group.

Members that are assigned a message will always receive a notification, irrespective of their notification settings.

Also see: Collaborative Inbox: Roles of the primary contact.


Other members of the group can configure the notification settings to not receive any inbound messages. They will rely on the primary contacts to assign messages to them.

Any member can log into the web interface to review any message.

You need to be a member of a group to receive task assignments.

Access the web interface

The WP Cycling Groups can be accessed at

Assigning tasks

Any member can assign a conversation to another member in the group. Use the Assign button to assign it to another user, or use Take to take ownership yourself.

Mark as Complete

By marking a conversation as complete it indicates to your fellow group members that there are no further action needed. In addition, you can filter out any discussions that are not yet complete using the Filter option.

Joining a group

Some groups are assigned a manager. The manager can add or remove users from the group.

Further reading

More information on Google Groups can be found by simply searching for “google groups” on Google. Also have a look at this introduction article.