Google Play is adding a new feature for enterprises. The Android app store will now host “Private Channels”–private app stores where companies can make selected Android apps available to employees.
According to the Official Google Enterprise Blog, “Whether you’ve built a custom expense reporting app for employees or a conference room finder, the Google Play Private Channel is designed to make your organization’s internal apps quick and easy for employees to find. Once your company has loaded these internal apps using the Google Play Developer Console, users just need to log in with their company email address to browse the Private Channel and download apps.”
InformationWeek’s Thomas Claburn observed, “Google finally has introduced a way for companies to distribute Android apps internally, a capability available to Apple iOS developers for several years.” He added, “To use the service, organizations need to have a Google Apps for Business, Education or Government domain. A Google Apps administrator must enable the Google Play Developer Console for employees already registered as Google Play apps publishers who will be publishing apps internally. The ability to download internal apps through the Google Play Private Channel also is controlled by Google Apps administrators for a given domain.”
ITPro’s Khidr Suleman noted, “In the support pages Google noted that businesses won’t be able to publish an app to both the public Google Play store and the private store in this ‘initial release,’ suggesting this functionality will be added. The web giant also said users will only be able to see the private store on their Android devices, not from a browser accessible on a computer at this time.”
According to eWeek’s Todd R. Weiss, “Dan Maycock, an analyst with Slalom Consulting, said the new private channels inside Google Play are similar to what Microsoft started doing when Windows 7 apps began appearing for customers. ‘Google is basically doing the same thing,’ Maycock said. ‘Enterprises are worried about apps because they don’t want to open up their devices to every app in the world due to privacy and security concerns. This is a good option.'”