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The University of Minnesota is working on rolling out Google Groups and considering options concerning external group members. The documentation seems to indicate that we can only mail to 500 external members when sending mail to a group. My questions to the group are: 1) does this mean that the limit on the number of external group members is 500? (are there use cases that still work for extra folks?) 2) what happens when mail is sent to such a group (i.e. is there any pattern to who does not get the mail). Thanks for any leads or experimental results you can share, -- Jeff Williams Internet Services Office of Information Technology University of Minnesota ********** Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at


The best I could figure out was that what really matters is the number of external members in a Group.  So for example, you have a Group with 1,000 external members.  You as an individual can send a message to that Group, it would then count against your personal account as 1,000 external messages.   You have a 2,000 external mail limit per 24 hours, so if you send another message to that Group you've not hit your external mail limit and can't send to anyone outside your domain for 24 hours.

I believe the 500 limit applies to emails to individuals in the "to:" field of a message, not to Groups.  For a single mail message you can address it to 500 individuals.  Of course the 2,000 external mail limit applies both to regular email messages AND to messages sent through a Group.

Mail within the domain is unlimited.

We have some departments that do communicate with individuals outside the domain and from time to time send out large amounts of mail.  We kept our SMTP servers and when they have a large amount of outgoing mail they will use Thunderbird configured with our SMTP server to bypass the sending limit.

Devin Nix
NYU Google Apps for Education
Academic Technology Services
New York University

As all things Google, the limits are fuzzy (some groups can have more than 500 external members, other will complaint at 500). In my experience, Google will not allow you to add more external members than allowed. We also noticed that a group that always worked (with more than 500 external members) stop working (the sender would get a message stating you exceeded the number of external members). We called Google and we were pointed to two solutions:
1) Use another tool for such groups
2) Split the group into smaller groups.

Hope this helps.

Rodolfo Nunez

Director, IT Infrastructure
Barnard College, Columbia University
3009 Broadway
New York, New York 10027
212-854-3606 (fax)

Thanks Devin and Rodolfo for your responses. :-) It seems things are more nuanced than one would first expect. -Jeff Williams