Google launches private apps service to address Android security woes

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In response to growing IT managers' concern about Android app security, Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) has launched its Private Channel service that enables enterprises to create private apps stores and control the apps their employees can download.

The service allows enterprises and other organizations to distribute internal Android applications to their users through the Google Play app store, Google explained on its website.

For enterprises to take advantage of Private Channel, they need be a Google Apps for Business, Education or Government customer.

"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 company explained in a website post.

"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," it added.

Ellie Powers, product manager for Google Play, explained that the Private Channel service is "designed to make your organization's internal apps quick and easy for employees to find. Once your company has loaded these internal apps using the Google Play Developer Console, users just need to log in with their company email address to browse the Private Channel and download apps."

Google's move is seen as an effort to address IT managers concerns about the insecurity of Android smartphones and apps. According to the latest report from Sophos, malware threats against Androids have exceeded threats against PCs, the traditional targets of hackers, in the U.S. market.

The report warned that the enterprise security risks posed by Android are growing. "Android malware can place a company's future at risk by exposing strategic information or stealing passwords," the report cautioned.

For more:
- see Google's Private Channel overview
- read Powers' blog post

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