I am using Windows 8. In the navigation panel on left, in the File Explorer, I can see two sections Homegroup and Network. Under Network a number of other PCs are listed. What is the difference between Homegroup and Network? To me it seems both are used for sharing files and folders over the network.
My Homegroup shows users, and what they have shared. My Network shows computers, which may, or may not have network shares in addition to the HomeGroup shares.
I actively joined (or created) a HomeGroup; whereas I think the Network Machines list correspond to a 'Net View' command.
Homegroup is quite simply functional on a small home subnetwork. Network connections to drives and volumes can function across many subnets and are often used in businesses in Workgroups.
You're right that they seem quite similar, but the Homegroup's functionality ends with media shares.