Google Groups: Roles and Permissions

Google Groups

Home  >  Google Workspace Handbook  >  Google Groups  > Learn about Google Groups: Permissions

If you are a GSuite administrator, there are several important points you need to know about group roles and permissions. 

When you create a group in Google Workspace, you will automatically be assigned the owner role. Additionally, you can add others as owners while creating the group. 

In Google Workspace, there are 4 default google group roles: owners, managers and members. If you are a super administrator,  you can assign roles to members of any group in your organization, whether or not you are the owner the group. 

Default Google Group Roles


Owners have full control over the group settings, permissions, and membership. They can add or remove members, change group settings, and manage group content.

  • Change group settings.
  • Add or remove group members, including owners.
  • Send messages to the group.
  • Delete the group.
  • Export group memberships and messages

If you are using google groups as a distribution list for email grouping, owners will be able to add or delete members to the mailing list, approve 


Managers have almost the same level of control as owners, except they cannot delete the group or change its ownership


  • Send messages to the group.
  • Change group settings.
  • Add or remove group members, excluding owners


Members are have the lowest set of permissions in a group. They can do the following:

– Moderate metadata, such as tags, and assign topics in collaboration groups

These roles determine what happens to the group inside the email distribution lists as well. 


Viewers can read the content shared within the group, but they cannot participate in discussions or access files.

Group Access Options

Google Groups offers various access options for group discussions:

  1. Public: Anyone can join the group, participate in discussions, and access group content.

  2. Team: The group is limited to members within your organization. External users cannot join or access the group.

  3. Announcement-only: Only group owners and managers can send messages to the group, while other members can only read the messages.

  4. Restricted: Group membership is restricted, and only owners or managers can approve new membership requests.

File Sharing Permissions: When sharing files within a Google Group, you can choose different levels of access for the group members, such as “View”, “Comment”, or “Edit”. These permissions can be set individually for each file.

External Collaborators: You can add external users to a Google Group by inviting them via their email addresses. These external collaborators can participate in discussions and access shared group content based on their assigned permissions.

When you use groups as a simple email distribution list

Here’s how the access options impact email functionality:

  1. Public Access: If you have set the group to be publicly accessible, anyone can send an email to the group’s email address, and the email will be delivered to all group members. This means that anyone, including external users, can send emails to the group and participate in discussions.

  2. Team Access: When the group is set to team access, only members within your organization can send emails to the group. External users cannot send emails to the group or participate in discussions. This option is commonly used for internal email distribution lists within a company or educational institution.

  3. Announcement-Only Access: With announcement-only access, only group owners and managers have the privilege to send emails to the group. Other members can only read the messages. This access option is suitable for situations where you want to limit who can send emails to the group, such as for important announcements or newsletters.

  4. Restricted Access: In restricted access mode, only group owners or managers can approve new membership requests. This means that only approved members can send emails to the group, while others can only read the messages. The approval process helps ensure that only authorized individuals can contribute to the email discussions.

How to allow a non-member to e-mail my Google Groups membership

You need to set the “Post Permission” to public.

Click the gear in upper right. Then Group Settings in the dropdown. Then on the left under the “Permissions” find “Basic Permissions” and set “Post” to public. This allows anyone to send messages to the group via e-mail.

How to allow public to send mails to a group alias

For G Suite, you can configure a group to accept emails from anyone, but you can’t do it at (where you configure most group settings). Instead:

  • Visit, sign in

  • Click the “Groups” tile

  • Hover over the group you want to change and click the “edit settings” link that appears

At this point you’ll see a permissions grid that allows you to pick from a set of default access types (public, restricted, etc). From here:

  • Click the edit button (pencil, top right)

  • Click “Team” to set some reasonable defaults

  • Click the button at the intersection of “Publish posts” and “External”

  • Click “Save” (bottom right)

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