Google brings Google Play to enterprise

Creates private channels for enterprise Android apps

Google announced this week that it was introducing the notion of private channels inside the Google Play app store to enable enterprises to distribute their own mobile apps within the Google Play structure.

One of the trends we are seeing this year is the rise of the enterprise mobile apps. These are apps created by IT specifically for internal use. These can have great utility for employees, but the question remains how to distribute these private apps.

This new feature from Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) addresses that need. As you create these apps, you use the Google Play Developer Console to load them into your Google Play private channel. Users can access the apps using their Google Apps email and login information.

It's worth noting that this feature has been designed for Android applications only, so if you are looking for a way to distribute applications across a variety of devices, this solution might not be for you.

Another limitation is that you have to be a Google Apps user in the same domain to control this feature. This means that if you're using outside developers to create your internal app, a scenario that's actually quite likely, the developers can't set up or access this feature. They have to pass it along to the company IT department or IT needs to set them up with internal credentials.

Setting up the private channel appears to be relatively easy and you can limit access by department or even individual users. Once an administrator sets up the channel and gives permissions, users can access the apps they have permission to see in their company's Google Play private channel.

This type of approach is a step in the right direction by Google, but by limiting it to Android apps, it might be too restrictive for IT departments looking for ways to manage apps across multiple mobile operating environments.

For more information:
- see the Google blog post on Google Play privacy channels

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