Internet Forum Software

Best Free and Open Source Alternatives to Google Groups

Google has a firm grip on the desktop. Their products and services are ubiquitous. Don’t get us wrong, we’re long-standing admirers of many of Google’s products and services. They are often high quality, easy to use, and ‘free’, but there can be downsides of over-reliance on a specific company. For example, there are concerns about their privacy policies, business practices, and an almost insatiable desire to control all of our data, all of the time.

What if you are looking to move away from Google and embark on a new world of online freedom, where you are not constantly tracked, monetised and attached to Google’s ecosystem.

In this series we explore how you can migrate from Google without missing out on anything. We recommend open source solutions.

Google Groups is a service that provides discussion groups for people sharing common interests.

We recommend the best free and open source alternatives to Google Groups.

1. Discourse

Discourse is an open source discussion platform. Besides being used as a discussion forum, it’s also a capable mailing list, and long-form chat room.

Discourse was built with high resolution touch devices in mind, and switches automatically to a mobile layout for small screens.

Discourse is built with Ruby on Rails, Ember.ks, PostgreSQL, and Redis.

Discourse


2. NodeBB

NodeBB is Node.js based forum software built for the modern web.

It uses web sockets for instant interactions and real-time notifications.

NodeBB has many modern features out of the box such as social network integration and streaming discussions, while still making sure to be compatible with older browsers.

NodeBB
Click for full size image

3. Flarum

Flarum is a simple discussion platform for your website.

It’s fast and easy to use, with all the features you need to run a successful community.

Flarum is the combined successor of esoTalk and FluxBB.

Flarum
Click for full size image

4. Mailman

Mailman is software for managing electronic mail discussion and e-newsletter lists. Mailman is integrated with the web, making it easy for users to manage their accounts and for list owners to administer their lists. The software supports built-in archiving, automatic bounce processing, content filtering, digest delivery, spam filters, and more.

Mailman has a great feature set. We love its content and topic filtering, virtual hosting support, REST-based API for the core system, and flexible architecture to facilitate integrating with your own site.


5. Sympa

Sympa is another superb mailing list manager. It provides advanced features with a rich and secure web interface. It’s well adapted for huge mailing lists, there are list member provisioning using LDAP, SQL or other data sources, and it supports a variety of authentication methods.

Sympa also provides a SOAP interface for integration with other programs, as well as support for S/MIME and DKIM.


All articles in this series:

Alternatives to Google's Products and Services
Google AnalyticsAnalytics is a platform for both website and mobile app analytics. This hosted web analytics software remains the mostly widely used analytics service.
Bazel is a fast, scalable, multi-language and extensible build system for building both client and server software.
Blogger is an online content management system which enables its users to write blog with time-stamped entries.
Google CalendarCalendar helps manage your busy life with a digital calendar. It offers tons of features and makes it easy to keep track of life’s important events all in one place.
Charts lets users visualize data on their website. It offers a wide range of ready-to-use chart types. The most common way to use Google Charts is with JavaScript that’s embedded in a web page.
Google ChatChat is communication software which provides direct messages and team chat rooms, together with a group messaging function.
Google ChromeChrome is application software for accessing the World Wide Web. It's the most popular web browser but has a chequered track record from a privacy perspective.
Chrome Remote Desktop is a remote desktop software tool that allows a user to remotely control another computer’s desktop through a proprietary protocol.
Google ClassroomClassroom is a learning platform for educational institutions that aims to simplify creating, distributing, and grading assignments. The main aim of the platform is to streamline the process of sharing files between teachers and students.
Google Contacts iconContacts is a contact management service. It's available on the sidebar of Gmail, a web app, and for Android.
Google DNSDNS resolves a particular domain name to its IP equivalent. There are many free DNS providers. A few stand out from the crowd.
Google DocsDocs is a web-based productivity office suite. The suite includes Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides, Google Drawings, Google Forms, Google Sites, and Google Keep.
Google DrawingsDrawings is diagramming software included as part of the web-based Google Docs Editors suite. Create and edit flowcharts, organizational charts, website wireframes, mind maps, concept maps, and more.
Google DriveDrive is a file storage and synchronization service. Want a solution that also includes the online office components available in Google Docs?
Google Earth ProEarth Pro maps Earth by superimposing satellite images, aerial photography, and GIS. Fly anywhere to see satellite imagery, 3D buildings, 3D trees, terrain, Street View, planets and much more.
FeedBurner is a web feed management service. Feeds are a way for websites large and small to distribute their content well beyond just visitors using browsers.
Google FinanceFinance is a website focusing on business news and financial information. It provides real-time market quotes, international exchanges, financial news, and analytics.
Google FirebaseFirebase is a platform for creating mobile and web applications. It's currently their flagship offering for app development providing an all-in-one cloud service.
Fonts is a computer font and web font service. It offers font families and an interactive web directory for browsing the library.
Google FormsForms is a survey administration software included as part of the free, web-based Google Docs Editors suite.
GboardGboard is a virtual keyboard app developed for Android and iOS devices. It features Google Search and predictive answers.
Google MailGmail is a hugely popular email service. You might not like the automated scanning of email content.
Groups is a service that provides discussion groups for people sharing common interests. Part of the service is similar to mailing lists.
JamboardJamboard is a digital interactive whiteboard developed to work with Google Workspace. Sketch your ideas whiteboard-style while benefiting from the access and connectivity of an interactive canvas, on mobile or directly from your web browser.
Google KeepKeep is a note-taking service. The app offers a variety of tools for taking notes, including text, lists, images, and audio.
Google MapsMaps is a web mapping service offering satellite imagery, aerial photography, street maps, and interactive panoramic views.
Google MeetMeet is a video-communication service. It offers enterprise-grade video conferencing built on Google’s global infrastructure.
News is a news aggregator service. It offers a continuous flow of links to articles organized from thousands of publishers and magazines.
Google SearchPassword Manager is a password manager built into Chrome and Android devices. It's published under a proprietary license with little information about security used.
Google PhotosPhotos stores your images in the cloud for convenient access from anywhere. Lots of useful tools, but it’s difficult to shake the sinking feeling that Google is analysing your pictures.
Google SearchSearch looks at privacy-focused alternatives to Google Search. If you believe that Google invades your privacy, what alternatives do we recommend?
Google SheetsSheets is a spreadsheet program included as part of the free, web-based Google Docs Editors suite.
Google SitesSites is a structured wiki and web page creation tool. Build internal project hubs, team sites, public-facing websites, and more—all without designer, programmer, or IT help.
Google SlidesSlides lets you create pitch decks, project presentations, training modules, and more. It's part of the Google Docs Editors suite.
Tasks is a task management application which lets users manage, capture, and edit their tasks. It's included with Google Workspace.
Google TranslateTranslate is a multilingual neural machine translation service that translates text and websites from one language into another.
Google YouTubeYouTube is an online video sharing and social media platform. It's a hugely popular service but has encountered a number of privacy issues.
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments