Google just upped the ante on its plans to invade the enterprise with its office-friendly features.
Google has unveiled a new set of applications, online services and industry partnership designed to promote the use of Android mobile operating system in the workplace. Known as Android for Work, this rather broad effort is meant to drive the use of Android not only on smartphones used inside the world’s business, but on digital payment kiosks that serve consumers inside cafes and retail stores.
Google first announced Android for Work back at its I/O conference in June 2014, but is officially launching its products now. Android for Work is an important part of the company’s broader “Google for Work” product offerings, which are set to become Google’s next multibillion dollar business.
With Google’s growing list of products optimized for the enterprise, including Gmail, Drive for cloud storage, Hangouts for videoconferencing, Chromebooks, Maps and Android, the company has already caught big customers and hopes to win over more.
Fundamentally, Google is offering a way for the companies and workers to securely split their work apps from their personal apps on a single device. On the same phone, for instance, you run one incarnation of Evernote for personal use and another for business use. Through partner companies, the internet giant is offering a single piece of software that lets businesses and individuals create this separation on existing phones, and in the future, Sheth tells WIRED, handset makers will offer phones with preloaded with the software.
The launch is getting help from a mix of app and hardware providers, including Box, Citrix,VMWare, HTC, LG and Sony. Even BlackBerry helping out with Android for Work support in its latest management tools. Developers of paid apps can even get in the mix, by opting-in to make their apps available for bulk purchase. However, Samsung isn’t pitching in to the same degree that was promised last year.
With this Android for Work program, Google hopes to challenge Apple, which has quietly pushed iPhones and iPads into the world’s businesses, and Microsoft, whose Windows Phone OS is largely intended for use in the workplace. Like Apple, Google is first and foremost a company that offers products and services to consumers, but through its Google for Work organization, it often repackages its consumer tools for use in the business world.