back to article Non-beta Google betas may lose beta tags

Five years after its public debut, Gmail is still "in beta." But Google is willing to bring the curtain down on this long-running online farce. Or maybe not. Its decision to eliminate meaningless beta tags is still in beta. Speaking at its annual developer conference Wednesday, the company said that its endless beta posturing …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    ~blinks~ This Rochelle person has basically given the single most non committal stance ever. He is utterly wasting his time at Google. Someone get this guy a handler at once and get him running for a government office ASAP. This was such an impressive piece of weaseling and double speak that I can hardly believe he was able to utter the words as they are marketing art of almost god like caliber.

  2. Mark Pitchless

    Figure out a way to fix that

    "We’re going to figure out a way to fix that"

    How much figuring does it take to remove the word beta from a few templates and images?

  3. Jimbo

    not sure

    I think GOOGLE's intention was to be cool "we are always in beta because of quick releases" ... not sure, but it's silly in general

  4. not sure
    Black Helicopters

    Non committal are they?

    Not when it comes to keeping all sorts of data for who knows how long.

  5. Keith T

    It is cowardly and unprofessional to avoid legal liability by mis-using the beta label

    I think all the other IT professionals out there will agree that people should not install beta versions of software on computers they need for work or school.

    Beta version are test versions.

    So it is dangerous and unprofessional for IT professionals to encourage the public to regard betas as production releases.

    Betas are for testing. There is no promise that they won't totally mess up your computer necessitating a re-format and re-install.

    But Google, has been using its own definition of "beta".

    I am guessing that Google is keeps its products in beta for legal reasons, to avoid legal liability if its products cause problems for users.

    If so, it is cowardly. A professional stands behind his or her products.

  6. Franklin


    "I am guessing that Google is keeps its products in beta for legal reasons, to avoid legal liability if its products cause problems for users."

    Since when has the failure of a piece of software or an online service, regardless of whether it's called "beta," been an issue of legal liability? The EULA for every software I've ever seen pretty much says "If it breaks, then we assume no liability for either piece."

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    the fact that people

    will sue is what keeps things in beta and people being non-commital - welcome to the result of letting America influence things and having Brown as PM

    i stand behind my software 100% but why should i be liable to lose my house because a dumb ass user turns his computer off at the wrong point?

  8. TeeCee Gold badge

    They have my sympathies.

    I know full well how difficult it is to get the users to sign off a Beta product so it can be promoted to a Release. Every single last bloody one of 'em will raise some cosmetic bollox that wasn't in the spec that they want changed and half of these will conflict with the other half.

    Maybe they shouldn't open their beta tests to so many users........

  9. Chris Beach

    Kill the lawyers...

    Maybe that's the plan, after all its due to them that this kinda stupidity has to exist. Without the beta tag Google would need an old IBM-style army of lawyers to protect itself form the mass of moronic muppets raising lawsuits every time they changed something.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Thanks to this farce....

    people don't actually understand what a beta is, because of this many games now have "betas" as well.. and the companies that do this get kicked in the teeth, cause the "testers" complain that x and y don't work and never buy the game and rant on forums about how the game is crap because x and y didn't work in the beta (forgetting of course that the beta is for testing, but thanks to googles abuse o the word they get confused).

    Once google stop abusing the beta word then maybe we can actually get some proper testing done again.

  11. Robert Moir


    Do people pay attention to Google's "trying too hard" attempts to act cool? Aside from them never missing another opportunity to demonstrate why business should take them seriously or trust them with data.

  12. Samson Chan

    Agree with Keith T

    I think i have to agree with Keith T here, in that they keep the Beta tag as so they won't get into legal hot water if theyt lose email in Gmail, for example. Their defense would be "but it's still a beta version, testing is still be carried out", etc etc.

    The other train of thought is that they do keep adding new features in quite regularly (the newish being Google Labs stuff?), but that's usually worthy of a new version number, not another beta version?

    This guy should run for Prez of the ol' US of A,; he's so non-commital it's hard to know where he does (or doesn't!) stand!

  13. DZ-Jay

    Re: It is cowardly and something something else...

    My impression is that their original intention was to be extra "cool" by showing off that their products are constantly being tinkered with, and therefore are forever improving. Hence, re-defining the term "beta" as A Good Thing (tm).

    After the first year or so of some of their beta labels failing to show any sign of disappearance, a few bloggers and news analysts made a point of this: of course the beta label remains indefinitely, said they; Google is constantly changing the applications, so it's a new kind of software development cycle. The Google Kind of Beta (tm).

    Apparently, this didn't catch on as well as Google wanted to. Well, it may have among the blogging, mytubeing, facetweeting, youspacing geeks, but not amongst the enterprisey suits and the serious technologists, who are the ones with the big cheque-books and the industry clout.

    A "new kind of beta", indeed.


  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @AC 05:40

    Yes, people will sue, but Google are a big company, very big and Microsoft, Apple, IBM, Sun, Oracle, et al don't have a problem releasing software in non-beta, just Google.

    Google are going to have to grow up and face facts that they are no longer two nice guys in a garage, but a very large company who are looking increasingly sinister in many of their business practices.

  15. Simon B

    We’re going to figure out a way to fix that - Not fking difficult is it!

    "We’re going to deal with that very soon. We’re going to figure out a way to fix that," said Google Docs product manager Jonathan Rochelle, according to IDG News Service.

    Pay me a few thousand and I'll figure it out really efficiently for you. It's complicated mind you, you have to REMOVE the WORD "beta". There you go, I "figured out a way to fix that".

    WTF do they get these idiots from? google is full of them!!!

  16. Ed Mozley

    They got rid of this beta...

  17. Chris Silver badge

    @Keith T

    "I think all the other IT professionals out there will agree that people should not install beta versions of software on computers they need for work or school."

    Not if the beta version just happens to work better than the release version, which sadly is all too often the case with engineering software. I think you may actually find that, whilst the official line is to install only release candidates, the unofficial line is to install whichever version gets the job done with the minimum of hassle. And if that means having perhaps two, three, four or more versions of the same utility installed, each of which you know happens to work better than the others in a certain situation, then so be it.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Beta is Google-Speak for No Accountability

    Or perhaps labeling everything as a beta absolves them of any liability any time something goes wrong with one of those endless-beta products or services.

  19. Robert Moore

    What comes next

    I have seen the future and it is gmail RC1.

    7 years worth of release candidates coming right up.

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