Android applications can now use the new Private Channel feature of the Play Store in order to internally distribute them to employees.
According to Google Play product manager Ellie Powers, “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.”
The Developer Console serves as the system controller, allowing administrators to distinguish between users who have permission to upload the apps to a private channel and those who are allowed to download them. A support article about this feature says that creating dedicated administrative Google accounts is a wise idea to protect access even if a key employee one day leaves the company. There is, however, a required $25 fee for publisher registration and the current functionality is limited to Google Apps for Business, Government, or Education customers only.
This Google Play Private Channel could be the element that sets Android apart in the business realm, as it currently sits in second place behind Apple’s iOS. Good Technology, an enterprise mobility firm, released survey findings earlier this year which reported that, at the time, the iPhone was easily the most popular smartphone for the business market. Since then, Google has made substantial progress in this field, even though the market numbers have not yet noticeably changed.