Distribute Android apps in your organization
The Google Play Private Channel is a feature of the Google Play Store which lets you distribute Android apps internally to users in your Google Apps domain.
Hosting internal apps on the Private Channel allows you to control which users or user groups can download the apps. Using the Google Play Store to host apps provides additional features such as user authentication, virus and malware detection, device targeting, payment, user rating, and user feedback.
There are two requirements for setting up a Private Channel:
- Enable user access to the Private Channel in the Admin console.
- Register with the Google Play Developer Console, which you use to publish Android applications to the Private Channel.
As domain administrator, once you register with the Developer Console you can grant Console access to other users, or authorize a 3rd party developer to publish apps to your domain’s Private Channel.
Enable the Private Channel
Google Apps administrators can enable the Private Channel using their Google Apps for Work, Education, or Government Admin console.
- Sign in to the Google Admin console.
- Click Apps > Additional Google services, click to open the filter pane, and deselect the Show top featured services checkbox. Where is it?
- Turn on the Google Play Developer Console for users in your organization who you want to publish applications to the internal Private Channel.
- Click and choose Device Management.
- Click Mobile > Device management settings, and scroll to Google Play settings.
- Enable the following options:
Apply these settings to an organizational unit to give a specific group of users access to the Private Channel.
- To allow users to access and download applications from the Private Channel, check Allow users to access Google Play Private Channel.
- To allow users to publish applications to the Private Channel, check Allow users to update Google Play Private Channel
Publish apps to the Private Channel
To get publishing access, a domain administrator must register for a Google Play Developer Console account at https://play.google.com/apps/publish. We recommend that administrators create dedicated role accounts for publishing apps to the Private Channel, so the domain can retain access to published apps in case an employee leaves the organization. Learn how to publish apps using a Private Channel.
Note: There is a $25 registration fee for the Google Play Developer Console.
Download apps from the Private Channel
Once the Google Apps administrator grants users access to the Private Channel, they can download apps from the Private Channel using the Google Play Store app on their devices. To access the channel, they need to go to Play Store > Apps > Categories > [your organization's name] on their Android device.
Will this feature allow me to publish internal apps to my users' BlackBerry devices, iPhones, and Windows Phones?
No, the Private Channel is only available for Android apps on Android devices.
Why can't I see the Private Channel on the Google Play Store app on my Android device?
Make sure that you select the right account in Play Store app, and that access to the Private Channel has been enabled by your Google Apps administrator.
Why can't I see the Private Channel on the Google Play web interface?
Currently, users can only view the Private Channel on their Android devices. The channel will show up as a title under Apps with your organization name.
Can I publish an app to both the public Google Play store and a Private Channel?
This functionality is not supported in the initial release. An app can either be published publicly or to a Private Channel, and not both.
Can Google Apps users get a waiver for the $25 publisher registration fee?
No. All publishers have the same set of basic rights, features, and responsibilities, whether they're publishing apps publicly or to a Private Channel.
Can I delegate a 3rd party developer to publish apps to the Private Channel?
Yes. After registering with the Google Play Developer Console, you can grant a 3rd party developer access to the Developer Console by sending them an invitation from within the Console. When creating the invitation, assign the permission Create apps restricted to domain. The 3rd party developer can then log into the Developer Console and publish an app on your Private Channel.
Can publishers charge for apps on the Private Channel?
Yes. All regular Google Play Apps publishing and billing features are available.
How many Private Channels can a company or organization have?
Each organization using Google Apps is allowed only one channel. Even if your Google Apps account is setup with multiple domains, you can only have one channel for your entire organization. On your channel, you may allow multiple publishers in your organization to publish applications, and each publisher can operate independently.
Can I publish an existing app to the Private Channel?
No. Google Play does not allow duplicate applications in the store. However, to publish an app you developed that's currently on the public Google Play Store to your Private Channel, change the publishing option, Restrict Availability, in your Google Play Developer Console.
How do I control or change the channel name showing up on a device?
The channel name always uses your organization's name, which is set at Admin console > Company profile > Profile > Organization name. There are no separate controls for the channel name.
Can I publish an app to a specific group of users?
No. But you can publish an app targeting a specific country or specific device models.
When will the Private Channel show up in Google Play on my users’ devices?
You need at least one published app on a Private Channel for it to show up on your users' devices. A new app can take a few hours to appear on a Private Channel.