Google is enabling businesses to create a private app store for employees. Businesses can set up a store that is only accessible by employees, where employees can log into it with their company email address to view and download the apps.
The private store is only available for Android and Google Apps users, meaning Google can easily manage access. Currently, businesses can only have one private store, and they cannot publish apps to specific groups of users. Google has noted that the ability to publish an app in the Google Play store as well as in the private stores isn’t available in the initial release.
All publishing and billing features of the Google Play Store, like payment, user rating, and user feedback will also be available to the private store users.
“Although the first release of its Private Channels store for internal business applications has only basic management and administration features, Google will do well to continue to build out its business mobility capabilities to capitalize on the growing mobile workforce and Android penetration,” said Yankee Group Principal Analyst Chris Marsh about the release. “Our surveys show that iPhone and Android are level pegging in the support they receive from IT decision-makers (each supported either fully or in a limited fashion by about two-thirds of all companies), leading BlackBerry and Windows. The levels of support IT anticipates giving to these platforms in two years-time only increases over the competition (to about three-quarters).”
Business can only have one private store, even if a company has multiple domains within their Google Apps account. And businesses also won’t be able to publish an app to both the public Google Play store and the private store. Google did say, however, this functionality isn’t available in the “initial release,” so it might add that capability in the future. Google also said that currently users can only see the private store on their Android devices, not from a browser accessible on a computer.