Android for Work.
Google for Work.
Play for Work.
Wait, what? Are these all the same? How do they differ? Which products are used in the enterprise?
Google Strikes Again
Late last year, Google renamed several of its brands associated with the enterprise. Below are some of the previous and new names of several products, accounts, services, and terms:
|Previous Name||New Name|
|Android for Work||Android|
|Play for Work||Google Play|
|Android for Work Account||managed Google Play Account|
|Android for Work Accounts administrator||managed Google Play Accounts admin|
|Android for Work Accounts enterprise||managed Google Play Accounts enterprise|
|App Restrictions||Managed Configurations|
|Google Play for Work store||managed Google Play store|
|Device Owner (DO) device||work managed device|
|Profile Owner (PO)||work profile|
|Android for Work Technology Partner||Android Technology Partner|
|Android for Work Help Center||Android enterprise Help Center|
|Play for Work Help Center||Managed Google Play Help Center|
(For the full list of name changes, visit this Google support page.)
Why the name changes? They’re most likely due to the ubiquity of the Android platform — Android devices account for 87 percent of worldwide smartphone shipments, according to analyst firm IDC — and the desire of Google to equip users with a more seamless, natural experience in device usage.
“We think this change better reflects the built-in nature of enterprise features of Android and our commitment to enterprise mobility,” explains Google on its blog.
Android for Work becoming simply Android may not seem like much of a big change. But it does remove much of the confusion companies may have whether the devices they’ve purchased can support the company’s choices in work-related apps. The simple answer: Yes. Here at Miradore, we hear this question all the time.
Indeed, as we’ve noted previously in our blog, one of the more attractive features of Android devices in a work setting is the obvious demarcation of work-related apps and data in a secure container. Further, on Android 7.0 or newer devices, it is even possible to lock the entire work container with a password.
Play for Work — now known as simply as the generic Google Play — still serves as the content marketplace for Android in the enterprise. Via a former Android for Work account — now a managed Google Play account — it allows IT departments to select, purchase, and manage apps for their organizations.
In addition to the rebranding of its enterprise Android and Google Play products — and adding even more confusion — Google changed the names of it managed services products: Google for Work is now Google Cloud, and Google Apps is now G Suite.
The Workplace is Everywhere
Google’s name changes aren’t mean-spirited or an example of a corporate cram down: it is simply trying to provide a platform for work — wherever work might be and however work might be defined in today’s environment.
As we’ve pointed out previously in our blog, nearly one-third of employees work remotely four to five days per week. As such, having a mobile device, or even several, loaded with work-related apps or access to work-related files, is key for both employees and organizations.
Employees may already own an Android device, and Google is simply making things easier for IT managers to ready the device for work-related applications.
But employees are increasingly not even employees at all — they are now more likely to be contractors or self-employed. The Gig Economy keeps growing at a clip, and according to a recent McKinsey study, 20 to 30 percent of the labor force in both the U.S. and the EU-15 is now made up of independent workers who are self-employed or do temporary work.
As this statistic will only grow, so will the need for people to be able to carry out their work-related responsibilities on their own mobile devices. Having a work-ready phone or tablet removes a headache for contract workers, as they can now have greater control over the applications and connectivity needed for business.
Google Will Always Be….Google
With respect to brand names and product roll-outs, Google, as a company, holds no sacred cows: products are regularly retired, rebranded, or relaunched. (Does anyone remember Google Buzz or Google Wave?)
Developers, IT managers, and users can certainly expect additional name changes from Google in the coming years. But if something is working — and working well — it is most likely here to stay. Android, for work or personal use, is one of them.