People said it would never happen and it hadn’t for several years. In fact, before today, we would have bet money that this change would never come. Google seemed perfectly content to keep its Gmail and Google Apps services with the “Beta” tag forever. That is, until today.
According to Google’s “official’ blog, they have removed the “Beta” status from Gmail and Google Apps (which consists of Google Calendar, Google Docs and Google Talk) as of today. Both consumer and enterprise Google Apps categories are now out of beta in fact, and its pretty likely the enterprise version of Google Apps was the driving force behind the change. With 1.75 million companies currently utilizing Google Apps (including The Flickcast), the “Beta” moniker seemed a bit ridiculous, not to mention odd, at this point. Plus, if I’m a business guy trying to sell my boss on a “Beta” service, even a really useful and cool one like Google Apps, I’m probably not going to get very far.
Google obviously agreed. . . finally. Unfortunately, even with this momentous news, Google didn’t actually change or enhance the services at all to make the move out of beta. They probably feel that removing the beta tag is enough for one day and will no doubt add features down the road. They certainly were not shy about improving GMail and Google Apps while they were in beta, so there’s no reason to think they won’t continue the trend now that the “Beta” is no more.