In the previous post, we saw how to use the group message board to communicate with the other group members.
While the message board application is often the most popular of the features, the group offers several other applications with which the members can collaborate more effectively. For example, if you wanted to share a document or a picture with your group, email attachments are not always the best. This post covers some of the collaboration applications.
Suppose you did some research on your crime watch group could use security cameras to improve vigilance around the neighborhood. Describing your findings over email or sending attachments would work, but if you used the file sharing application, you could do it more efficiently. You can access this from the group home page by clicking on the Files link. Within this application, you can create folders and store your files. You can then send out an email to the group, giving them a link to the files you stored. Google groups also has a document sharing feature that is similar, but with more powerful file sharing capabilities.
In the same way, if you receive a newsletter from your City Police, you can save it as a file and share it with your group. If you created a detailed spreadsheet showing the cost-analysis for a neighborhood project, it is easy to share it too. Or may be an interesting article that you found online. You can also create a neighborhood roster may be as a Word document or a spreadsheet and save it here. But the database feature describe in a later post would probably serve this purpose better.
Want to share the pictures you took at the summer party? You can use the Photos application. This is very similar to the Files application, but supports thumbnails, etc. Suppose you took some pictures of that suspicious car that appears to have been abandoned on the street. This would be a good place to put it, to share it with your neighbors.
There are a lot of web resources that you will find useful for the group. They could be interesting websites or blogs that talk about NCWs, or police department web sites, contact pages, or even your own websites or blogs that have some relevant information. Sharing such web links is best done using the Links application. Simply click on the Links button on your group home page and add your links. It also allows you to create folders.
As you can see, besides sending group messages, you can easily share information very easily using these features.
[Next part of the article: Manage Information.]