Google’s Work Profile tool for Android, which lets you hide your work apps and data with the flip of a switch and keeps your personal phone use safe from your company, will be coming to more users next year. According to a blog post from the company, currently, the feature is limited to phones that your organization manages, but Google says it’ll start to become available to people using Google Workspace in 2022. After that, it’ll branch out with the ultimate goal of letting anyone using Android for work flip a switch to make their business apps disappear.
The ability to turn off work, especially when many of us are working remotely, is sorely needed. My colleague Monica Chin recently wrote a great argument for why you should have a personal laptop and a work laptop that you can close at the end of the day (and that doesn’t expose your business to your company). It’s nice to see Google making its software equivalent of that available to more people because while having two phones really cements the work / life walls, it’s just not practical for most (and could honestly be a bit of a headache).
Google also says that it’s working with identity and single sign-on providers Ping, Okta (choice of The Verge’s IT department), and Forgerock to improve security when users access their company’s content. The company wants to have users authenticate in its Custom Tabs system, rather than a WebView, making the experience faster for employees and allowing providers like Okta to access more of the phone’s security information.
Google’s focus on security, which includes pushing the Android Management API that comes with Android’s recommended requirements set by default and lets enterprises get new features quickly, isn’t just talk, either. It’s also launched a bug bounty specifically for Android Enterprise, which will pay up to $250,000 if you’re able to find a major vulnerability on Pixel devices running Google’s business-focused software.
The focus on security, combined with the other improvements we’ve covered, makes it seem like Google’s focusing on making Android more suitable for the future where many of us work remotely — an especially relevant focus for the company, which is planning on (eventually) implementing a hybrid work system for its own employees.