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OMG. Google removed “beta” tags.

July 7, 2009

Did you know that Google removed the “beta” tag not only from Gmail but also from Google Calendar, Google Docs and Google Talk?  More importantly, do you care, or did you notice it even said beta?

I definitely didn’t notice the beta tag, even though I am on Gmail (almost) every day.  I always thought beta tags were for new products, but according to the Official Google Blog, Gmail has been around for five years. Hmmm.  Why did they remove the tag now?  Why did they wait five years?  Here’s what they have to say about it:

“We realize this situation puzzles some people, particularly those who subscribe to the traditional definition of “beta” software as not being yet ready for prime time.

Ever since we launched the Google Apps suite for businesses two years ago, it’s had a service level agreement, 24/7 support, and has met or exceeded all the other standards of non-beta software. More than 1.75 million companies around the world run their business on Google Apps, including Google. 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. 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, 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.”

To summarize, Google removed “beta” so they can now make huge gobbles of money from big corporations. Big surprise, right? I mean, you’re shocked, right?

Though this news may not be all that interesting, Twitter is abuzz with tweets about it – there are about two new tweets every second that contain the keywords “Google” and “beta”.  Most of the tweets haven’t been too remarkable – they’re just supplying links to the Official Google Blog’s post on the topic or being snarky, with comments like, “it’s about time” and “who cares?”.  A few tweets talk about an apocalypse; this chatter doesn’t mean much to me, so if someone geeky more knowledgeable on the subject could provide an explanation on this, that would be swell.

Also, not sure about you all, but my Gmail logo still contains “beta” (see below).  So let me know if I need to freak out or anything.

Gmail beta

And just in case your “beta” has been removed and you are genuinely missing seeing it, read below from the Official Google Blog:

“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.”

2 Comments leave one →
  1. kimtrokey permalink
    July 20, 2009 10:04 am

    I didn’t notice either, and I live on gmail. Nor did I realize that being in a beta stage could hinder their money making power. Very interesting…thanks for sharing.

  2. Crystal permalink*
    August 12, 2009 8:17 pm

    Terrific post. I think this goes to the ongoing discussion we’ve been having about the role of expectations. I’m one of those geeky people who associate “beta” with not ready for prime time. I’ll wait for the real thing. So removing beta from the name will make me more likely to try it.

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