Until recently, there were three ways to distribute your application through Google Play. You could make the app available to everyone, you could limit it to your own organization or you could limit it to specific users who use alpha and beta releases.
Google has made a fourth option available that allows you to limit your application to specific organizations. When you use this option, your app will not appear in the public Google Play Store or search results and users will not be able to open a link to it unless they are part of an organization that you have granted access to. This behavior is similar to the previous "Restrict distribution" option in Google Play, except that you can now choose other organizations instead of just yours.
This includes use cases such as:
- Companies with multiple Google Domains or multiple Google service accounts on multiple BlackBerry UEM servers can now use the same binary for all their users.
- Software vendors who do not want their apps to be publicly listed can now use a personal Google Play app in which they choose the organizations that have access. Earlier, the APK could have been delivered directly to the customer to be used to achieve this.
Let's look at how this works.
Log in to the Google Play Developer Console and select the app you want to manage. In the menu on the left, expand "Save presence" and click on "Prices and distribution". Scroll down to the "Managed Google Play" section and uncheck the two options shown in the screenshot below (the first option is checked and disabled for free apps).
After checking these boxes, click SELECT ORGANIZATIONS. Enter the Organization ID and give it a name to help identify it in the future. Click Add, Done, and then submit your update. Google Play will tell you that it takes several hours for the update to take effect, but I've found that the app is available for the newly added organization after a few minutes.
Your organization's ID is visible in Google Play for Work. Log in with a Google Domain account or a Gmail account that is a member of your organization and click on "Admin settings" in the menu. Your organization name and organization ID will be shown.