Yes, it’s true. Just five short years after its launch, and just months after they caught the most recent round of flak for the extended “testing” period, Gmail is finally losing the Beta label today, as are all of Google Apps, including Calendar, Docs, and Talk.
Oddly enough, the list of unbetaed apps coincides exactly with the list of betaed apps TechCrunch was complaining about in May. But as the NY Times reports, there’s more to it than just TC’s criticism:
Practically speaking, the change will mean precious little to Gmail’s millions of users. But it could help Google’s efforts to get the paid version of its package of applications, which includes Gmail, Calendar, Docs and other products, adopted inside big companies. Corporate technology managers tend to shy away from beta products, and Google wants to remove any barriers to adoption that it can.
“For business customers, it is an important sign in terms of the maturity of our product offering and commitment to this business,” [a Google director of product management, Matt] Glotzbach said. “I’ve had C.I.O.s tell me that they would not consider a product labeled ‘beta.’”
Gmail anticipates some “gamma anxiety,” so they’ve added a new experiment to labs—to add back the little gray “BETA” to your Gmail logo. (And we all know how they like their silly lab apps!)
What do you think? Will dropping the Beta label help Google gain enterprise acceptance? Will you add the beta back your Gmail, just so you can continue to ridicule its half-decade in beta?