Gmail, Other Google Apps Escape Beta Status
If you have a Gmail account and you haven't checked it yet today, log in and see if anything on that site looks different. Notice anything missing? Do you feel a vague sense of absence when you gaze over your inbox?
That's right: The "beta" subtitle that has graced the Gmail logo since April 1, 2004 is gone.
(If you need to take a moment to compose yourself--maybe to rush to the nearest window to verify that the sky is still blue on this planet--I understand.)
Google explained this stunning news in a blog post this morning. Short version: Corporate America made them do it.
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.
By "Apps suite," the Mountain View, Calif.-based company means not just Gmail, but also Google Docs, Google Calendar and Google Talk. (When I log into Google Docs, I still see the "beta" label; Google's post says these labels "will be removed from the product logos today," so I'll have to check back in a bit.)
For those who already miss the old world order, a separate post on Google's Gmail blog explains how to switch on a new "Back to Beta" option that will restore the familiar label.
When something this unsettling happens, a little soul-searching seems appropriate. So be honest: When did you expect Gmail to graduate from beta status? On its 10th anniversary? 2029? 2063? Never? And if this is possible, what comes next?
July 7, 2009; 12:40 PM ET
Categories: Digital culture , E-mail
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