GMail out of betaAs we predicted on SitePoint three days ago, Google has quietly dropped the “beta” tag from all their main applications:

It is also apparent that beta has been removed from Google Reader, Google Translate and Google Maps.

This action has been a long-time coming. GMail was introduced five years ago. Initially limited to invited-users only, the system has grown to be the most popular webmail system on the Internet. It was one of Google’s first Ajax-enabled applications and many people use it in preference to a dedicated email client.

Google’s official blog post makes the reasoning clear: they want to remove any doubts about Google Apps being a mature product suite. A new marketing effort will encourage business users to adopt the products and GMail will receive several new features specifically aimed at the commercial market:

  • email delegation — a feature that allows administrative staff to screen and send email on behalf of others in their company
  • email retention — a policy system for IT administrators to control when emails are purged (to comply with country and/or industry regulations)
  • disaster recovery — features such as priority handling for business users’ email and live data replication
  • migration tools — to help business users’ switch from Microsoft Exchange and Lotus Notes.

Google has re-iterated that the standard versions will remain free for private users.

Is this the first sign of Google growing-up and becoming a business-aware corporation? Will dropping “beta” have a significant effect? Will it intensify their on-going battles with Microsoft?

See also:

Craig is a freelance UK web consultant who built his first page for IE2.0 in 1995. Since that time he's been advocating standards, accessibility, and best-practice HTML5 techniques. He's written more than 1,000 articles for SitePoint and you can find him @craigbuckler

  • Stormrider

    Happened yesterday really!

  • developar

    I thought they kept this betas everywhere so in case on any damage to the users business they will not sue Google :)

    It is really great how Google is now fully confident with their services and the proof to that came today by announcing the their Chrome OS.

    It is not the first sigh as a business-aware company, the first sign was Google Apps aimed at big business companies

  • LFA

    Google han an advantage over Microsoft in that it was founded to solve a problem with the internet. I think Google in this way has become an “internet company”, whereas Microsoft is a “desktop company”. And I don’t see how a desktop company has any chance of making it in the long run. I don’t think Microsoft is going to be able to deal with Google and open source competition.

  • Craig Buckler

    Ahh, well – we only predicted it 2 days ago then!

  • RogueScripts

    Yay for Google, good call Craig.

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