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"Communities" were a feature on Google+ which provided functionality similar to a Facebook group or even a Discord or Slack server.

Any Community had the following features:

  • shared space -- any member can post to it
  • opt-in -- you decide which ones to join (or request to join, if approval is required), and you can leave anytime
  • moderated -- admins can boot people out
  • privacy options -- a Community can be
    • invite-only, join-on-admin-approval, or join-immediately-on-request
    • publicly-viewable or members-only
  • categories (limited functionality, though)

Google+ deployed circles quite some time before communities were deployed.