Distribute Android apps in your organization

Overview

The Google Play Private Channel for Google Apps (the Private Channel) allows Google Apps domains to distribute internal Android applications to their users through the Google Play Store.

A Google Apps for Work, Education, or Government domain can have a Private Channel on the Google Play Store. The Google Apps domain administrators can allow domain users to register with the Android Developer Console to publish Android applications to the Private Channel. The publisher account owner who registered with the Android Developer Console must be a Google Apps user in the same domain, such as internal IT staff, and not external developers.

The Google Apps domain administrators can also choose which users or user groups can access the Private Channel to download internal applications. The Google Play Store provides common features for application publishing, including user authentication, virus and malware detection, device targeting, payment, user rating, and user feedback.

Administer the Private Channel

Google Apps administrators can enable the Private Channel on their Google Apps for Work, Education, or Government Admin console.

  1. Sign in to the Google Admin console
  2. Click Apps > More Google apps, click filter to open the filter pane, and deselect the Show top featured services checkbox. Where is it?
  3. Turn on the Google Play Developer Console for users in your organization who you want to publish applications to the internal Private Channel.
  4. Return to the Admin console, click Device Management > Mobile > Device management settings, and scroll to Google Play settings.

  5. Opt in to the feature and manage access to the Private Channel by organizational unit to have granular control over who has access.
    • To allow a specific group of users to publish applications to the Private Channel, Google Apps administrators need to turn on Allow users to update Google Play Private Channel and enable the Google Play Developer Console for this same group of users in their Admin console.
    • To allow a specific group of users to access and download applications in the Private Channel, Google Apps administrators need to turn on Allow users to access Google Play Private Channel.

Publish apps to the Private Channel

Users need to first register with Google Play as regular Google Play apps publishers on the Google Play Developer Console 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.

FAQ

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 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.

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