Productivity Preview

Google’s Divide Launches Invitation-Only Technical Preview

November 20, 2014 - Written By Phil Bourget

With the Galaxy Note III and their iteration of Android 4.3, Jelly Bean, Samsung released KNOX, a security ‘capsule’ that secured and isolated your work from your normal phone life.  Google allowed this back on the tablets that received Android 4.2, Jelly Bean, in the form of multiple users and separate userspaces.  Some apps offer isolated capsules for professional usability, but one that we haven’t heard much of recently is Divide. Divide, which was acquired by Google a few months back, was known for a very effective implementation of separating userspaces for work and play.  One of the biggest things that made Divide a keen acquisition by Google is that the company already had a completely functional, though clunkily managed, switch for work and personal.  The reason for bringing up this sub-company of Google today?  Well, it’s the release and beginning of an IT demonstration of the newly revamped and revised Divide service, offered through Google this time.

Divide, which used to be open to anyone that downloaded the app and created an account is now, for the technical preview that began today, limited to invited users of some of Google’s ‘Bring Android to Work’ initiative.  Now, let us clear something up quickly.  Divide, the original service whose app icon is green,  is still active and available to download and try out without needing an invitation.  The new app, the Divide Productivity Preview, has an orange icon, and is in testing now, not full rollout mode.  With that cleared up, let’s look at what the preview actually has to show.

First, the app is, literally within itself, a secure workspace and environment for your apps and data pertaining to work.  The environment has its own email client, optimized for professional email server interactions, as well as its own Contacts app and list.  This is great for those confidential work contacts for that big secret project next week.  There is also a separate calendar, so you can have your work schedule show up exclusively, without the possibility of distraction by that silly appointment Steven put in at lunch yesterday.  There’s the dedicated Downloads section, so any files or information downloaded from your professional emails gets saved away separate and secure.  And finally, there is the tasks app that is included in Divide Productivity Preview that lets you keep your personal schedule and to-dos out of the way from eight to five, five days a week.

This kind of separative professional service is likely to hit big with tech-savvy companies, but might take longer for less up-to-date companies, if they adopt it at all that is.  The new Divide looks to be greatly improved, specifically thanks to Google’s Material Design and use of quantum paper throughout, and should also offer a greatly smoothed out experience, as compared to the rather jaunting transition between work and personal environments. Have you tried KNOX, Divide, or any of the other ‘separate your work from play’ apps and services out there before?  Are you hoping that your company will join the party and sign up for the preview so you can give it a whirl?  Is splitting a single personal device the new trend instead of the traditional two-phone method of yesteryear?  Let us know down below.