If You Build It, They Will Come: Google Offers Businesses Private Android Apps Outlet

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In an age where the ownership of mobile devices such as iPhones, iPads, and BlackBerry smartphones is becoming more commonplace and, somewhat proportionally, used at the workplace for various job-related purposes, the IT departments of most businesses are constantly developing and offering in-house apps to their workers as opposed to relying on similar ones created by third-party developers that may or may not be up to par in relation to the needs of the business. Sometimes, however, these developers lack a proper channel to offer these apps and are forced to distribute them on app marketplaces open to the general public. Internet powerhouse Google declares “no more” with the unveiling of Private Channels on Google Play.

Having been announced on Tuesday, Google Play’s Private Channel is a service open to businesses looking for such an outlet to display their apps in a secure location for their employees to download what they need. Google Play Product Manager Ellie Powers explained the capabilities of this new service in a recent blog post on the company’s official 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.

As with all services, there are a few restrictions that come with the territory. The first and chief among them is the fact that Private Channel is open exclusively to Android devices, with owners of products made by the competition having to rely on third-party apps. Other restrictions include businesses only being able to have one channel regardless of multiple domains, and the inability to target specific user groups.

These restrictions may seem draconian at first glance, but, in the long run, businesses having a private app distribution channel backed by Google at all more than makes up for these relatively small downsides.

(Google Enterprise Blog via Ars Technica, image via Robert Scoble)

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