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Auto-installing Google Hangouts on Android devices in G Suite domain

November 1, 2016 | By admin

Seems like Duo, Google’s new video calling app, is all set to replace Hangouts on Android devices with access to Google Play Store. But there is no denying the fact that Hangouts has its own advantages, especially as regards enterprises and as one of the core G Suite apps. It’s liked and  would continue to be liked by organizations that give importance to Mobile Device Management.

That Hangouts supports SMS services, integrates Google Voice calling, and also syncs conversations across multiple devices are things that could continue to attract enterprises to use it on Android devices.

MDM Android

G suite administrators would need to change their deployment practices to install Hangouts on new Android devices; this should be part of their Mobile Device Management strategy. Rather than getting new Android users in the organization to install Hangouts or the administrator manually installing and configuring Hangouts on each Android device, it would be better to get Hangouts installed on every new device that connects to G Suite, as one of the automatically deployed apps. For this the following steps have to be taken, by a G Suite super administrator-

  • The first step would be to notify all Android users within the organization. All of them need to be told that a new mobile management solution is being deployed.
  • The Android device users within the organization should be asked to download the G Suite Device Policy app.
  • Next step is setting up Google as the EMM (Enterprise Mobility Management) provider. This can be done by logging into G Suite Admin console, going to Device management > Setup > EMM binding for Android and then choosing “Bind Google Mobile Management as your EMM provider for Android devices.” Android Management terms of service would have to be reviewed and agreed. When it’s activated, a notice would be received via email.
  • Next step would be to return to G Suite Admin console and then going with Device management > Setup Mobile Management followed by checking the box under ‘Android Sync’ to “Manage Android devices”and then selecting “Save”. (Going to Device management > Android Settings > Work Profile and changing the drop-down option from “User opt-in” to “Enforce” would be good if the OS supports it. This would create a Work Folder that would hold Google Play for Work apps)
  • Next step is going back to Admin console and then Device management > App management (in the lower left menu) > Manage Applications for Android devices.
  • Next is choosing the apps to deploy to the Android users within the network. Choosing  the “Click here to manage” option would show “G Suite Device Policy” app as listed. Additional Android apps can be added to this list.
  • The next step would be to open a new browser, go to http://play.google.com/work, accept the terms of service and then search the Play for Work store for Hangouts.
  • On the Hangouts app page, “Approve” needs to be chosen (to allow the app). Then the page link has to be copied.
  • Once again it’s back to Device Management. Then  App Management > Whitelisted Android Apps” page. The action button in the lower right, to add an app, has to be chosen and the copied link has to be pasted to the app. Next would be “Get App”, followed by “Automatically install on all devices”. Users of Android devices may or may not be granted permission to remove the app.
  • Next is selecting “Whitelist”.
  • The final step would be to ask Android users to open the Device Policy app and login with their G Suite email address and password They would then have to accept mobile device management terms that allow administrative access to the device. When they are logged in, they can create their own work profiles by tapping on “Create Work Profile.”. This creates for them a folder with work contacts plus the Google Play Store for Work, and the Device Policy app. The user would also have to go to Google Play Store in the Work folder and accept terms of service there, following which whitelisted apps from the Play Store for Work will be available. Setting Hangouts to auto-install would automatically work this out. (Creating a work profile is always good as it helps keep word data separate and also prevents deletion of personal data when administrator remotely erases work data).
  • Deploying Hangouts to all Android devices connected to a G Suite domain makes it easy to get new Android devices to have Hangouts, even if they come without it.
  • Approving or auto-installing other Android apps too is possible.

 

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