Google may strip 'beta' tag from some apps

The label makes some businesses reluctant to pay for the services, a Gartner analyst said

Google may be ready to remove the "beta" tag from some of its online applications in a move to widen their appeal among paying business customers, company officials suggested Wednesday.

Google is known for keeping the "beta" designation on products even long after they launch. The most prominent example is Gmail, which has been available for five years and is used by millions of people, yet still says "beta" next to the Gmail logo.

At a round table for press and analysts at Google's I/O conference Wednesday, Gartner analyst Ken Dulaney said the practice is off-putting for some business users, who think of a beta as something that's still being tested.

Google Apps Premier Edition, the paid version of Google's online applications suite that comes with customer support and a service-level agreement, is not labelled as a beta, noted Matt Glotzbach, product management director for Google's enterprise products.

But he acknowleged that many of the applications within it, such as Google Docs and Google Calendar, still are. "It's a minor annoyance and something you'll see addressed in the not-too-distant future," he said.

Pressed further, Google Docs Product Manager Jonathan Rochelle said: "We're going to deal with that very soon; we're going to figure out a way to fix that."

He didn't say how it would be fixed, but removing the beta tag seems a likely option.

In its early days, Google launched new services such as Gmail and Google Maps at a rapid-fire pace. The beta tag provided a way to set expectations for service levels and remind users the applications were still being developed. It may even have added to their cachet, suggesting they were new and experimental.

"The term 'beta' as we know it in the software industry and the way it's being used by Google is not really the same type of use," Rochelle said.

"We're selling these products, and we don't treat them internally like they're a beta," he added. "It's almost traditional" for Google to keep the beta tag on its products, he said.

But while Google has managed to upset many things in the software industry, it may not have changed the way businesses think of a beta.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Google I/O conference

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

James Niccolai

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?