Google has opened a private channel in its Google Play app store for Google Apps business customers to distribute Android apps to their employees.
The service is designed to allow businesses to distribute custom internal Android apps, which employees can access by logging into the organisation’s private channel with their company email address.
Google suggests the channel could be filled with custom expense or conference room location apps, with the aim of making finding internal apps easier.
Apple offers a similar private iOS app distribution service for employees and business partners that can access private apps via emailed redemption codes.
Google's private channels are limited to one per customer and while different user groups in one organisation can publish apps to all employees, apps on the private channel can’t be restricted to specific user groups within an organisation.
Setting up the private channel will cost all Google Apps customers $25 to register under the normal Google Play app publisher agreement, giving the account holder user authentication, virus and malware scanning, device targeting, billing and user feedback features.
The private channel means companies that have apps published to the public facing app store can move them to the private channel. It does not support BlackBerry, iOS and Windows Phone apps.