IT departments asked for it, so Google is giving it to them: Administrators can now set different Google Apps usage policies for groups within their organization. The new feature, created in response to popular demand and detailed in a post at the Google Enterprise blog, allows administrators to enable or disable specific apps for specific groups and is available for users of the Premier or Education versions of Google Apps.
Besides giving IT departments tighter control over app usage, the policy management capability could also serve as a hook for getting businesses to transition to Google Apps from on-site software. "The ability to toggle services on or off for groups of users can also help customers transition to Google Apps from on-premise environments," wrote Adam Dawes, Google Apps product manager, in the blog post. "For example, a business can enable just the collaboration tools like Google Docs and Google sites for users who haven't yet moved off old on-premise messaging solutions."
[ This move comes on the heels of Google's announcement last week that it is increasing Apps admin control over mobile devices. ]
The management works by letting administrators put users into groups, then giving each group a set of access rights for the various applications. Google says the feature can also be used to select various workers to pilot test an app before giving it a full rollout in the company.
The policy management feature is free and is already being rolled out to Premier users and is set to be rolled out to Education users next week.