I have searched here and on Google for the best solution to achieve a similar function to a shared inbox here at my office setup. I also spent one hour with the Google Apps Support team in the States over the 'phone without finding a perfect solution. Your ideas might be much better. Here is the situation:

  • We have eight users at the office, setup as [email protected].

  • Our umbrella company has five subsidiary companies. Using one subsidiary as an example, let us call it subcompany-x.

  • I would like customers to be able to send an email to [email protected]

  • Three users should be able to receive this email and reply to it without exposing their personal email address. They should be able to reply as [email protected].

  • All users should be able to read each others replies and follow all customer conversations.

  • the CEO is using a Blackberry 'phone to check email and is not a techie person.

The different options I see have different pros/cons:

  1. Creating a Google Apps User for [email protected] and delegating this account to my three users. Problem: requires the users to login to a new account to read/reply. the CEO is not able to read/reply to emails from his 'phone.

  2. Creating a Google Group for [email protected] and the other four subsidiary companies. Problem: 1. Expensive to add extra users. 2. When a user replies to a customer email from his Gmail inbox it appears as being sent from the user's personal email address and does not keep the other users informed of the reply. The Groups web interface does this perfectly, not the email setup.

  3. Creating email aliases. Problem: Only one user can have [email protected] as alias.

  4. Making advanced settings in the Google Apps Control Panel Settings for Email routing. I don't understand these so well.

Please let me know if I am missing something here. I really cannot get my head around this issue. It seems so simple, but it is not! Even Google themselves could not solve it for me.

2 Answers 2


The Collaborative Inbox would be your best solution if it were not for the CEO:


This is a specialized Group which allows people to respond as the Group. This does not address the CEO's need to be mobile.

The other solution which is messy and requires users to pay close attention to others who have responded: 1. Setup a group for each subsidiary 1. Setup a Send As address for each user for each group (e.g. [email protected] can Send As [email protected]) 1. Configure each user's email to reply using the same address it received from. 1. Switch the CEO to an Android phone so he/she can use the Send As feature.

  • +1 for suggesting collaborative inbox. If the CEO could be persuaded into checking mail via the Gmail web interface, it could solve that problem, too. Feb 28, 2013 at 13:32
  • thanks for your thoughts. To get the "collaborative" inbox to really work, every user replying to messages have to remember to CC the group email address. Fat chance... :-) Mar 2, 2013 at 12:58
  • 1
    Henrik, that is not the case. When they reply to the message, the reply-to address is actually the collaborative inbox address which will send it to the final destination. It is just a Google group with special characteristics.
    – Weehooey
    Mar 2, 2013 at 13:53
  • The collaborative inbox works best when you have your users use web access to the group. They can then "take" the email, set their reply address and mark it complete.
    – Weehooey
    Mar 2, 2013 at 13:54

Google doesn't offer this as a full solution so your best bet is to use a Chrome extension to achieve a shared inbox for you. There's not may tools out there to truly achieve this, but DragApp.com will be a good fit in terms of simply connecting up Gmail to your team, and you are away.

There are other options such as Front, Hiver and a few more but for me, it's key to stay inside Gmail. I'm stuck using Gmail (in a good way) and all of the other solutions take you away from this.

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