Google Apps for Business was one of the first serious contenders to Microsoft's reign over the Enterprise market. It has reportedly been pretty successful thus far with Google announcing that 5 million businesses, 45 states and 66 of the top 100 universities have all made the switch to Google Apps. Now the company is adding expanded mobile support into the mix.
Google announced today that Google Play can now support Private Channels. These Private Channels are built specifically for Enterprise customers who want to distribute work-related apps to its employees' Android smartphones. Google Apps for Education and Government aren't left out either as each service will also support Private Channels.
Setting up a Private Channel appears to be relatively easy. A company's IT worker just has load the work-related apps into the Google Play Developer Console and users will be able to find them when signing into Google Play via their work, school or government email address.
It should be noted that there are a few caveats when using the Private Channel that businesses should be aware of. For one, an app can not be made available on both a Private Channel and the public Google Play store at the same time. Google says the functionality isn't supported in the initial release, but it sounds like it will be added later on. It doesn't say, however, if a publisher can release an app on the Private Channel first for internal testing and then move to a public release on the Google Play store. We've reached out to Google for comment and will update when hear back.
Each organization is only allotted one Private Channel. As for the $25 registration fee, Google Apps customers still have to pay it when publishing an app to a Private Channel. Publishers can also charge for apps in the Private Channel.
Those interested in setting up a Private Channel on Google Play can read all the technical specifics here.