Beta no more: Google apps graduate to non-beta status

Google logoGoogle Apps sans "beta" tag? Say it ain't so! Google announced today that Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs, and even Google Talk are coming out of beta. Google wants to end confusion over what constitutes a still-being-tested product and what might be good for enterprise use—and enterprise use is what the company really wants to see.

Do not adjust your screens: Google has taken a number of its Web apps out of beta. Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs, and Google Talk have all finally shed their beta status after years of mockery from Internet denizens, with Google noting that the company's definition of "beta" has not always aligned with the "traditional" definition of the word. As a result, Google has decided to make things less confusing by ditching the tag in hopes of attracting more enterprise customers to its Google Apps services.

It was just over a month ago when Google acknowledged the terminology discrepancy during a roundtable discussion about the company's business offerings at Google's I/O conference. At that time, Google product management director for enterprise products Matt Glotzbach pointed out that Google Apps Premier Edition did not have a beta tag but many of the apps included in the package did, including Gmail, Google Calendar, and Google Docs. "It's a minor annoyance and something you'll see addressed in the not-too-distant future," Glotzbach said.

Indeed, the company has finally made good on its promise to reduce customer confusion over what "beta" really means. "We've come to appreciate that the beta tag just doesn't fit for large enterprises that aren't keen to run their business on software that sounds like it's still in the trial phase," Glotzbach wrote on the Official Google Blog today. "So we've focused our efforts on reaching our high bar for taking products out of beta, and all the applications in the Apps suite have now met that mark."

Gmail, which has been out since 2004, is perhaps one of the oldest products to grab its diploma, though its graduation doesn't appear to bring any major feature changes for regular users. Business users, however, will gain a number of new capabilities, including e-mail delegation and retention. Additionally, business customers will get improved reliability across all of Google Apps with the addition of live replication of data to other locations and special handling of business users' data in data center operations, the company wrote on its Enterprise Blog.

We have to admit, we'll probably miss the days when some of Google's most prominent Web services were perpetually in beta, but we're sure the company has new products up its sleeve that will give us that fix. Google Wave, anybody?

Source: ars technica

Tags: Gmail, Google, Internet

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