Gmail is Still in BETA. What does BETA mean to Google?

Remember the April Fool’s Day in 2004, when Google announced testing of a preview release of Gmail? Yeah, this time it was real; not one of the Google’s April Fool’s Day hoaxes!

Gmail has conquered the hearts of millions of email users for the last 3½ years. During there years, Gmail has added many new features and improved from invite only to open sign-up service. Free Gmail size grew from 1 GB to 5.1 GB, at the rate of 100 MB per month. Gmail is considered the most stable email service.

Everyone says, Gmail? wow, it’s superb! It rocks! But Gmail is still in BETA! What does BETA mean to Google? How does Google decide whether an product/service is stable and out of BETA? It seems, Google considers BETA as a final release for many of its products and services.

BTW, do you remember (or have you seen) Google BETA when the company formed in 1998? See this Google BETA (1998) page from Web Archive. Cool, at least Google.com is not in BETA now!

In general terms, what does BETA mean?

“Beta” is “ß” the second letter of the Greek alphabet, after Alpha (a). When used to refer to software, Beta is short for Beta test. The software is technically “feature complete”, stable enough for most common usages to actually work. By definition Beta software is not finished and is known to have bugs, perhaps even serious ones.

Given below some Google products / services in BETA. Check it out. Did I miss any?

 

Google Calendar BETA Google Docs BETA Google Base BETA
Google Custom Search BETA Google Video Search BETA Google Desktop BETA
Google Books BETA Google Scholar BETA Google Pack BETA
Google Finance BETA Google Gears BETA Google Co-op BETA
Google Patent Search BETA Google Product Search BETA
Gmail    

3 Comments

  1. Thanks Abhishek, do get back after the semester exams. all the best for your exams.

    BTW, somehow I still don’t feel Orkut being part of the Google family – it is still not stable and does not have a google UI design. 🙂 I still get “no donuts for you” message in Orkut!

  2. sir,

    u missed orkut…..

    i got some flaws to discuss about orkut, but got semester exams on head.

    would tell u everthing in deep,but after 2 weeks.

    regards.
    -abhishek

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