Web - - By Craig Buckler

Google Officially Drops the Beta Tag

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?

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