Google Groups Vs. Yahoo! Groups

By Faizah Imani

Updated September 15, 2017

Yahoo! Groups, originally named “Yahoo! Clubs,” started in 1998. Google Groups started in 2001 after the company took over Usenet, a leading online news bulletin system that started in 1981. Despite the ever-increasing number of social networking sites, Google Groups and Yahoo! Groups are still going strong. The basic function of each group is similar -- to draw Internet users together and promote socialization within a virtual community. However, there are differences between the two.

Registration Requirements

With Yahoo! Groups, it is not necessary to register to receive group messages. You need only an email address; however, to join a group or participate in a group discussion, you need a Yahoo! ID. With Google Groups, unless the group is “public,” you have to register to receive messages, to join a group or to participate in a group discussion. Because of Google's registration requirement, some individuals may choose not to read your group messages or subscribe to your mailing list. Both Google Groups and Yahoo! Groups are free to join.

The Numbers

Yahoo provides access to millions of groups, as does Google. With Google, you have access to Usenet groups and non-Usenet groups. This means access to more messages than Yahoo! Groups. Google Groups offers an archive of all messages ever posted through Usenet, dating date back to 1981 -- you can read read historical timeline posts such as the first mention of Microsoft in 1981 or the first mention of Michael Jordan in 1983. Yahoo! Groups does not archive messages.

Group Messages

Google Groups and Yahoo! Groups allow you to read and respond to messages via email or by visiting the group's Web page. With Google Groups, you can send larger messages. Yahoo! Groups limits message size to 750KB. Google Groups limits message size to 5MB. Both groups allow message attachments. However, with Google Groups, all attachments are archived and stored on Google's server. With Yahoo!, attachments are not archived, nor are they stored on the server.

Other Features

Yahoo! offers additional features you can add to your group, such as polls and calendars, that Google does not offer. Both groups offer a “Search” feature that allows you to search for groups that share your interest. Both allow you to send email invitations requesting others to join your group. Both display advertisements in group forums, as well as group email messages. Both allow you to assign moderators to your group.

Creating Groups

If you want to create your own group, you need a Yahoo! ID or Google account. To apply for a Yahoo! ID, visit the Yahoo! homepage. To apply for a Google ID, visit Google's homepage. Once you have an ID, select the option to create a “Group.” With Google, you can create an entire website for your group, using the free WYSIWIG (What You See Is What You Get) sitebuilder. With Yahoo!, you can only create an information page for your group, not an entire website. Both allow you to designate your group as private or public. Private messages are limited to group members. Public messages are readable by anyone.