Google adds enterprise app store option for Android

Google has announced it is extending its Google Play store to help Google Apps customers distribute internal apps to employees through the Google Play Private Channel.

“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 organisation’s internal apps quick and easy for employees to find,” wrote Ellie Powers, Google Play product manager in a blog post.

So, apps can be made available to employees without making them available to the general public – in other words, an app store.

The only catch, of course, is that it’s only available to those who have Android apps on Android devices.

Yet according to Tekserve CTO Aaron Freimark, talking to Enterprise AppsTech in July, a good enterprise app store should have links to recommended public apps alongside internal company apps in order to keep employees happy.

However, Freimark did add: “Nobody really knows how to do this the best way. Let your users figure out how to make this a really brilliantly successful implementation”.

According to David Akka, UK managing director of Magic Software: “The announcement from Google is further proof that enterprise is the new battleground for the major players in the smartphone market.

“Although security on the Android platform remains a concern due to the heavily fragmented ecosystem, the decision to open a private app store for enterprise applications could help build market share by winning over the hearts and minds of the corporate market,” he added.

In other Google-based enterprise news, the search giant has announced that Google Apps will only be available to businesses on a subscription basis.

According to Clay Bavor, Google Apps director of product management, it seemed to be the logical decision.

“When we launched the premium business version we kept our free, basic version as well,” he wrote in a blog post.

“Both businesses and individuals signed up for this version, but time has shown that in practice, the experience isn’t quite right for either group. Businesses quickly outgrow the basic version and want things like 24/7 customer support and larger inboxes, [while] consumers often have to wait to get new features while we make them business ready,” he added.

As a result, all companies will have to sign up for the premium version, which includes a 99.9% uptime SLA, a 25GB inbox and will be $50 per user per year, although it doesn’t affect those currently using the free service.

Would you be happy to use the premium Google Apps?

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