Gmail groups are now Gmail Contact Labels

Whenever I’m in a virtual group of more than a few people, I encourage the use of a Google Group ( to keep the list of addresses “in the cloud” instead of in everyone’s individual address books. If the group uses Google Apps, they can also create a “group” there — it just explodes one address, like, to multiple addresses (which can be easily edited when personnel change). Other mail systems from web providers (e.g. Dreamhost) have a similar functionality. The problem any of these things solve is that

When a person joins or leaves the list, the list of addresses needs to be updated in only one place. [And, of course, it means that *someone* needs to remember to update the list.]

But sometimes that just doesn’t work — either because I don’t have the energy to convince the powers that be to do it that way or … So there are times when I need to set up a “group” of my own in Gmail. This used to be pretty straightforward – go to Contacts, Select Groups, Create a group and add addresses to it (like you would with the Google Groups or Google Apps Groups).

Google, in their infinite wisdom, has, however, changed things so that Gmail “groups” are now “labels”. You can go to Gmail > Contacts > Labels to see who is in a group and delete the members. But to add people to a group you need to find their address on a list in your contacts, select their address, then hit the little label icon in the upper right and select the correct group name.

It works, just weird. But I got used to labels rather than folders for messages and now find it *extremely* useful to be able to add multiple labels to a specific message (to the point where Mailchimp’s “a campaign can be moved to a folder, but only one folder” seems horribly old fashioned).

Just posting to solidify what I learned.


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