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Google Apps Crawl Out of Beta Status, Finally

It's been more than five years since Google launched its webmail service Gmail, and since then it's been in beta despite performance standards that stack up well, if not better, than against all other competing services.

Besides just an innovative email service, Google has also launched a calendar, word processor and instant messenger applications. Up until today, they were also in a beta state, but that's no longer the case.

As Matthew Glotzbach of Google announced the move in the company blog, saying, "Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs and Google Talk — both enterprise and consumer versions — are now out of beta. 'Beta' will be removed from the product logos today, but we'll continue to innovate and improve upon the applications whether or not there's a small 'beta' beneath the logo."

Google didn't push four products out of beta today just because all hit new milestones at the same time, but rather it was something to do with customer perception. In particular, businesses are understandably shy of any software that's still in beta, as often the label is associated with unfinished and unstable products.

"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," added Glotzbach. "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."

Funnily enough, Google has considered that a fraction of its audience may be unable to accept that Gmail is no longer in beta. Glotzbach wrote, "One more thing — for those who still like the look of 'beta', we've made it easy to re-enable the beta label for Gmail from the Labs tab under Settings."

Putting a faux beta label on your Gmail sort of cheapens the whole experience now, doesn't it?

Marcus Yam
Marcus Yam served as Tom's Hardware News Director during 2008-2014. He entered tech media in the late 90s and fondly remembers the days when an overclocked Celeron 300A and Voodoo2 SLI comprised a gaming rig with the ultimate street cred.
  • strandwolf
    Yesterday all my GMAIL inbox mail, sent mail, saved drafts, and addresses flew the coop. Someone somehow phished them right out. 80,000 emails swiped. Heads up. I have the IP address of the culprit--in Green Bay WI of all places.
    Reply
  • rockerrb
    Putting a beta label back on software that is no longer in beta is just plain stupid.
    Reply
  • Shadow703793
    strandwolfYesterday all my GMAIL inbox mail, sent mail, saved drafts, and addresses flew the coop. Someone somehow phished them right out. 80,000 emails swiped. Heads up. I have the IP address of the culprit--in Green Bay WI of all places.Ouch. lol
    Reply
  • sciggy
    funnily? really?
    Reply
  • Grims
    If anything Google Docs is the only one that should be in beta.
    Reply
  • doomtomb
    About time!! I just want to know what Google was thinking with all this beta crap. If it's been in beta for 5 years what is the point? They just dropped the beta tag because of the customers but that's not a good reason. You are supposed to drop beta and move to final when you actually achieve a new milestone which I think Google did a long time ago but they foolishly kept this beta sitting around.
    Reply
  • pocketdrummer
    what about the friggin' Google Talk CLIENT!?!?!?!?! I hate having to pull up firefox every time I want features. Seriously.
    Reply
  • hemelskonijn
    I think the beta thing at first was a real good marketing strategy, i was one of the first in the netherlands to get an invite to gmail and i know i wanted it badly (mainly websites that might send loads of spam) and liked it enough to switch to it as my main email provider (beats the hell out of running my own mail server).

    Up till the moment they dropped the need to get an invite i knew several people that really wanted gmail if only to find out what the buzz was all about and thus in a way it was a uber smart marketing move.
    Keeping the beta this long might have been just another way to make some of the people using gmail feel like they belong to some elite group.
    Its in my humble opinion the same as some tools never seem to leave beta stadium like for as far as i can remember firefox was stuck in 0.x for ages.
    Reply
  • strandwolf
    I expect Google stock shares to sink slowly in the mire. I live less than a mile from their campus and the area seems infested by zombies. The founders came out of Stanford yet somehow they made a point of hiring anyone coming off that farm for the legacy kiddies.... Bad, bad move, and now MicroSoft will fry their bacon.
    Reply
  • randomizer
    Now if there's a bug they can't use the "it's only beta" excuse. I remember getting an invite for Gmail. I used it for about a week and went back to Hotmail. I don't even know if my account still exists.
    Reply