Yesterday, Google announced the removal of beta label from Gmail. Since its launch in 2004, Gmail was in beta mode like other Google applications and now after 5 years, it has been as full product.
First of all let’s understand what does BETA version of any application mean? Whenever a web company makes an application, it’s not sure about performance on various systems. So an intensive testing is carried out on the product. Initially, when testing is done at company computers and it is called Alpha testing and the application is named alpha. After successful alpha testing, application moves to Beta level. Now it is availed to specific group of users outside the company which make sure that there are no errors left. At last, application is released as final product based on the feedbacks and expectations are made that it will work fine everywhere.
Google products mostly float around with Beta brand. Orkut, Google talk, Google calendar and Gmail are examples which were in beta for past many years. Yesterday, i.e. on 7th July Google removed Beta label from most of its applications. Let’s understand why it took more than 5 years for Google to release a final product?
- Gmail regularly implements new features getting better day by day. Drag-and-drop labels, new antispam technology, group chat, gmail mobile and more features were continuously included into Gmail. Stable release means a product which needs few or no updates.
- Google does not want to be blamed for loss occurring to customers because of its services. A defensive approach since beta’s couldn’t be considered working for everyone.
- Some users were still facing problems with gtalk and errors in Gmail. These troubles hindered the release of stable version.
- Google Apps would be incompetent suite with these beta labels. To make Google apps wholesome package, Beta label has also been removed from Google talk, Google Calendar, Google Docs and Google sites. For a complete package to be as good as rivals Microsoft Exchange, beta version has to be detached.
Google is currently eyeing on the enterprise business and collaborative services. Microsoft and IBM holds nearly 85% of this market and Google would definitely like to generate some revenue from its already much-admired services. But large corporations wouldn’t rely on beta applications and especially not on beta email. As an effort, Google has to remove BETA label so that it can persuade users to use enterprise solutions or Google apps which costs $50/per user/per year. However, does removal of beta makes Gmail stable? And does it guarantee success? These questions are still need to be answered.