Google has unveiled Google Play Private Channel for Google Apps, a new service that will allow businesses to distribute their own custom applications internally without making them available to the general public.
A Google Apps for Business, Education, or Government domain is required to use a Private Channel, which will then have its internal apps uploaded via the Google Play Developer Console. Employees can get their fingers on the apps by logging into their Google Apps accounts and heading over to their company\’s Private Channel.
The Channels can only be accessed via Android devices, however, meaning that attempting to access these business-specific apps through Google Play on the Web won\’t work just yet. And of course, no Private Channel apps are available on other mobile operating systems like iOS or Windows Phone.
A $25 registration fee is required for publishers, and businesses will only be allowed one Channel each. There is currently no way to publish apps targeted at specific company groups, although they can be limited to by device type and country. Google recommends that IT administrators who plan on utilizing the service create dedicated role accounts in order to keep internal apps available if a certain employee leaves their company as well.
\”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,\” said Google Play product manager Ellie Powers in a company blog post.
The new service looks to help Android catch up its rival and longtime enterprise favorite iOS in the business space. Apple has been helping businesses distribute apps internally through its enterprise programs for months now, but this move could help improve Google\’s mobile standing and popularity in the workplace.