Android and Chrome

Control over how sensitive files are shared could be big for Google's place in a BYOD world

Earlier we got a little more information about the new enterprise features coming with Android L, courtesy of Samsung's contribution of portions of Knox. As consumers, it's not really the sort of thing we think about, at least not very often. But one of the bullet points really stood out to me, and I think it could be just the thing Google needs to build out their own piece of enterprise market share — managed intents.

Read on to see why I think this is Google's foot in the door of the enterprise.

We all use and love Android's intents system, even if we're not sure exactly what it is. Every time you want to share from one app to another, or set an app as a default you're leveraging Android's most powerful feature. For a real-world example, open a picture in your favorite gallery app. It can be the stock gallery that came with your phone, or any of the great replacements from Google Play. When you open the share menu, you'll see every app on your phone that says it can do something with that picture. The same goes for text files, or spreadsheets, or zip files or just about any other file type. Intents allow apps to communicate with each other, and share data. It's a powerful system, and adds a lot to the ease-of-use factor.

Every time you share from one app to another you're leveraging Android's intents feature

But it is also something that your IT manager — or whoever sets security policy for devices — might have a problem with. The way things work now (in "stock" Android) you can share anything with any other app. You could share some sort of uber-secret company document with the pastebin app, for example. This means your company has to trust you, and while you should always build a level of trust with your employer, trust is never really secure and accidents can happen. Managed intents through an all-new set of security policies and managed accounts in Android L changes all of this.

Sharing is caring

I can envision a system that lets your policy manager prevent you from sharing managed documents from Google Docs (for example) with your personal account. You could still share them through your company account, where the IT department has more control over what files can be sent outside and who they can be sent to. While we, as consumer users, think of this as some draconian iron-grip control over your phone that you paid for, your company sees it as a way to have better control over their assets. In other words, exactly what they are looking for in any BYOD program. Remember, it's their job to make it hard for you to let sensitive information get into the wrong hands, either purposefully or accidentally.

Chrome cozies up to Android

this is a first step towards "app-level" security that's worth a damn

This can go even deeper. We've already seen how Chrome and Android are going to get more friendly and talk to each other, and there is no reason new security settings can't be placed into ChromeOS. Google thinks Chromebooks are the perfect laptop for the enterprise, and adding a new layer of security and advanced policy management to the mix (as well as more robust Google Apps account control) could make for a perfect one-two punch to attract corporate customers. With Sundar at the head of both teams, I feel certain that I'm not the first to think of this scenario.

While I don't think we'll see the end of MCSE's working tirelessly to keep control over a corporate network environment just yet, I can see this as a first step towards "app-level" security that's worth a damn, and a way for Google to court companies big and small with real security tools. We have no idea if this will catch on or even play out this way, but we do know Google wants to position itself as a viable alternative to what is available now. I'm really looking forward to seeing what becomes of Android for Work and to see if Google is really serious about the enterprise.


Reader comments

Managed intents could be Google's key to the enterprise market


No enterprise wants Chrome's internet based productivity. Second, managed intents? It sounds like political doublespeak.example?, it is not an estate tax BUT a death tax. Managed intent aid for a truly miss mash OS that will forever be intruded upon.

I can think of any number of local governments that have switched to GAPPS in the past few years. They might be interested, even if you're not.

Nice try, though.

Good luck to them all. However, if and/or when a big issue occurs they can always go back to something that truly is secure for enterprise.

A lot more secure than anything Google/android puts out. My opinion is that will continue even after the double speak titled, Managed Intents. LOL

Doing enterprise work relying on managed intent is Google's way of absconding responsibility on the 30000 dollar a year IT guy. I can imagine IT stating their case and Google stating they didn't set up their managed intents correctly. Also, using internet productivity apps in chrome will also be IT's fault not Google's. It is not as secure as Microsoft managing this type of productivity in my opinion

You never stated how? You came up with a hypothetical about IT calling Google about an hypothetical/undefined issue. 30k IT guy, where do you live?

Posted via Nexus 5 Android Central App

Got it, so your statement about Android and Google being unsecured as a whole, is to be taken for speculation. That clears it up. Thanks!

Posted via Nexus 5 Android Central App

Nope, got it wrong. I speculated about the speculative article. Google has proven to everyone over time that it has a very insecure OS. It is not a court of law, if you don't know enough about Googles security issues, Google it. Wait, maybe you should use Bing. LOL

AGAIN! HOW SO? Jerry hit the nail on the head. If you want to argue support, that is one thing. But you keep making these comments that say Google's OS IS insecure. I just want a example from you. And I will list the last month windows security patches that were applied by work place IT guys.
Posted via Nexus 5 Android Central App

Tons of articles go Bing it. I am not going to spoon feed it to you. It is so LAST year and counting. Oh by the way....Yo. LOL


The only thing I find laughable is the amount of corporate trolls from Microsoft and Apple on pure Android sites lately. Sorry, laughable is the wrong word here. Pathetic and desperate is a more suitable label , I think....

You are making an argument that Google's products are insecure, yet YOU the one making the argument doesn't provide a source and want others to go find it for you??? Since you are making the claim, the burden of proof is on YOU.

It is in regards to speculation in this article. He has no proof that managed intents are key to enterprise with android he SPECULATES this. I speculate it will not. I speculate that google/android is in secure and it wouldn't be good for enterprise. We will see. This is NOT a court of law. It is a blog....where people state opinions and SPECULATE. Prove my speculation is wrong if you wish BUT there is no burden that you must. Sorry!

There is nothing more secure than a system of interoperability that is open-source and readily available for peer review.

You can say differently, but you would be wrong.

Except when it ends up that Google ends up to be the peer review. Open source? You assume Google has this all covered. I believe they don't

The full source for the current Android intent system is readily available, and Samsung has contributed code under an open-source license. Portions of Android L (including the managed account system) are already available for review, and the example code is thoroughly documented.

Again, you can say differently, but you would be wrong.

I could be wrong. Again, you could be. Stating where the example code and that some of this can be reviewed in L's preliminary stage doesn't mean you can be confidently right. You could be but you could be wrong. That is what speculation is all about isn't? On BOTH sides

Snowden was able to disable the NSA. Let's see what happens. There could be ANOTHER Android/google article about security breach in the future. The record isn't good.

I have a serious question for you, "John Grabb".

Are you doing this at work? Trolling on behalf of your employer. Or are you doing it "free of charge" on your spare time? If it's the latter, you must really have a sad life. Going to Android sites trolling about a phone manufacturer. If you're doing it at work, I would be so ashamed working for that company. Forcing you to troll about them on the internet.

No matter what. Your behaviour is so sad. Good night.

Well, I find your insidious statements quite silly. I see YOU on these sites ALL the time as well. What is your job? The blog monitor for Android Central?

I like my Android phone, therefore I read news about it and similar devices on Android sites. If you find that kind of behavior shocking you're not only a sad excuse of a human being for your "own" trolling, but also really retarded. :D

You are not the only one that is allowed to speak multiple times on multiple sites. I like my android tablet. What does that have to do with anything? Why do you always need to insult ? I am concerned about security and Google in general on Android devices I own and use

Here we go again! Back to your opinions and speculation. Opinions aren't facts, just because you say it's less secure doesn't make it so.

Posted via Nexus 5 Android Central App

Go Google the security issue history of Google/android. I am not going to research for you. Now really, come on you and everyone on these blogs state opinions and speculations, get real, stop being angry, and realize that is what blogs are for.

You make a claim, but refuse to back it up. Sounds to me like all you are doing is spreading FUD and BS. You are so knowledgeable on this stuff you should not have to look anything up. You should have links handy

I can't do links on this tablet. It isn't important enough to have links at the ready. This isn't debate class. We are not on stage

Yes you can do links on a tablet.

If you actually know what your talking about, you know where to find the info. If your talking out of your a++ you pull the carp your are pulling right now. All talk, no substance, all bull.

Your right we are not in debate class but you also do not get a pass for making baseless claims either.

Prove your work or STFU and move on

Use your work is a figure of speech. Prove what you are saying. It is not much of a conversation if you can not support your position.

You opinion flies in the face of facts. There are more zero day vulnerabilities that are unpatched by either Apple or Windows than have existed in Android. Ever.

We are not talking about old OSes that have 1-5% of the total market for Android. We are talking about wiondows XP that still has +/- 30% of the windows user base. And will not see another patch after that IE patch (which was a surprise).

And yes, show me different since you doubt me. How many zero day vulnerabilities are there out there for Android as compared to Windows?

You want everyone else on here to do the work in proving you, so prove me wrong hotshot.

I don't know how many vulnerabilities Re on android. There are can be many on windows. How quickly does android fix vulnerabilities? How often do they check? YOU brought this up NOT me. I just don't want my business viewed by Google til it goes belly up OR I die.They will have almost everything I ever accomplished in my business at their disposal with chrome and google drive. Third party protection is ALWAYS important and BEST on physical drive that you own. Google has access to TOO much with their internet way of doing things we get to the heart of the matter, you do not know how to turn things off. You opt into most of the stuff, and you can turn it off.

Your right, only a fool would not use an extra layer of security on ****ANY**** device or OS. How often does Google check on these things? They have a whole department dedicated to just that

Google fixes Android issues rather quickly. How quick it gets disseminated is another story. That beef is with the OEMs and with the carriers, not Google and Android.

Stating the fact that open-source software is inherently more secure than closed source is not speculation. You have no idea if Windows, or iOS, or BlackBerry is secure. You are taking someone else's word for it — the very someones who take your money in exchange for said software. When you can look at the actual code to see what it is doing (or hire someone to look at the code) you know what it is doing.

I just read through this entire string of comments to see if you actually had a point. Unfortunately, you couldn't give a single shred of data to back up your claim and, instead, you are just spreading FUD.

Look, I get that you like Microsoft. But you need to realize that there are very viable alternatives, Google among them. This also comes with several advantages. Open source allows bugs to be patched more quickly, non native applications hosted on Web servers are significantly more secure than native applications. Android, and it's permission model is incredibly secure. Probably the most secure os. The only thing holding it back is that it is still missing features required by enterprise such as static ip, private keys, app by app management. L looks to solve this and send android the enterprise.

Discount it all you want. Google has been very successful in the enterprise in the last few years. Go "Bing" it as you say. That statement alone makes me think you are a Microsoft employee. Nobody else says that lol

Bing was humor. I am writing on my Android tablet. I have big problems with the true lack of concern Google has had for consumers. I don't hold much hope they will care enough for enterprise and will do what they do best make money and hide OR abscond the inevitable security issues that will occur with enterprise

Funny, knox has been used in the enterprise for quite sometime now and I have yet to hear anything....

Can you show that it is insecure?

Jerry Not relavent question but I've always wondered what do you use for you daily driver as in PC do you use chrome is Mac or windows ? :)

Posted via Android Central App

I use a 2013 Mac Mini for work, or my Chromebook. I have a little distributed network of cheap, old machines running Slackware Linux here for anything fun or that needs more power than OS X lets me have.

I have some shitty ASUS Windows 8 laptop I got from Microsoft online, but it just reboots trying to install 8.1 if I turn it on, and I live too far from a Microsoft store to get it fixed. One afternoon I'll wipe it and install Linux and run Windows in a VM if i ever need it.


I know that there are easy ways to put it in the enterprise, but the problem comes with retraining the users. At that point the TCO goes way higher than with Windows.

In addition, I am assuming that we are just talking phones here, and linux has no place there (in a pure form)

Actually, we weren't talking phones, I was responding to "what do you use for you daily driver as in PC " and Linux works just fine as a choice. And it certainly has just as much place in "Enterprise" desktop as MacOS does, probably more (since there are already Linux servers in just about every large business).

As far as TCO, it is probably about the same. You can save a lot on licensing, upgrading costs averted, self-fixes, malware scarcity savings, etc. Although there is additional training and customization that will absorb much of the savings. I run a facility with nearly all Linux machines, and 150+ user. And no, they are not technical or scientific, just everyday users.

I didn't see that you were responding to anything, I thought this was a new thread of yours. I know that you have much more Linux experience than I so I cannot, and would not, argue the point with you on TCO. Back when I ran hardware, it was not all that close. Linux training chewed up more than its savings, but we are talking 6-10 years ago.

No big whoop. It really depends on the user and what they are used to. Change = cost, no matter what you do; even when staying with MS products and having to upgrade them. Linux desktops can be set up to mimic just about any environment you need. And yeah, in 10 years things have only gotten better.

Another example that isn't even Linux, but is FOSS related: When Microsoft did that "ribbon" thing in MS-Office, it chewed up TONS of resources at companies. Some companies actually used that opportunity to switch to Libre/OpenOffice.... it was less training than moving to the newer MS-Office and is completely free... and then they were using a multiplatform office suite that costs nothing to update and adheres to real file standards. Again, won't work for everyone, but it is nice to have choices.

I work in this sector personally and I can safely say that Jerry has hit the nail on the head. Everything is going mobile and Android is providing a platform for the enterprise which will allow for much more regularly updated systems at a lower cost, and with these new security solutions in place, people like me can make sure that private documents are kept private. Going forward it is inevitable that we will see the desktop tower become nothing more than an item in a museum, and the smartphone will be the new pocket friendly tower, and with modern technologies such as wireless charging, NFC, wireless KB & mouse, and wireless secondary display solutions we will obviously have all of the hardware we need to migrate to the computer of the future, and these new security solutions will allow for a much more corporate friendly environment in software.

Well, if that is what you believe... I'm not gonna discuss my sources, but what I will say is, this video demonstrates the early steps that are being taken today, and with the required security added to this system... well, why would a company want to pay for both a desktop & a phone for each employee?... anyway here's the video I was talking about: If you still want to believe that the desktop is going nowhere then go ahead. But with the investments that are going into the portable computing ecosystem compared to the... desktop well... I'm sure many people are aware where the real innovation of today is.

Yeah, this fight isn't Chrome O/S v. Windows Enterprise, it's Android v. iOS for enterprise. I would be surprised if Google tried to build and push an end-to-end solution for Fortune 500s. However, they are now a consumer internet provider...

Windows phone in the enterprise is moving along as well. I do not keep tabs on it like I should but I know there are at least rumblings...