Google Apps leaves beta

July 8, 2009 // 10:07 a.m.

Tags: #beta #eternal-beta #gmail #google #google-apps #google-docs #google-mail #google-talk

Cloud-based business suite Google Apps is finally graduating from its beta status and becoming a fully-fledged release product.

In a clear attempt to shuck off its image of clever ideas wrapped in a permanent beta status, Google has announced that its cloud-based Apps suite – comprising Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs, and IM/VoIP package Google Talk – has become mature enough to be considered non-beta.

Google is quick to point out, however, that Google Apps has been a production offering for quite some time despite its beta moniker: claiming that “more than 1.75 million companies around the world run their business on Google Apps,” the company points to the presence of a service level agreement and 24/7 support that – even in beta - “exceeded all the other standards of non-beta software.

The company won't be resting on its laurels, either: Matthew Glotzbach, director of Product Management at Google's Enterprise division, says that his team will “continue to innovate and improve upon the applications whether or not there's a small 'beta' beneath the logo.

The move comes as Google adds a handful of new features to Apps targeted at enterprises: mail delegation, configurable mail retention policies, and “ongoing enhancements to Apps reliability.

It's clear that Google would have to drop the beta status one day and, with increasing competition from some unlikely corners of the technology world, finally accept that 1.75 million companies paying to use your product means it's a bit beyond a public beta.

Google wouldn't be Google, however, without a tip of the hat to those who dislike change: if you miss the beta tag on your Apps site, there's an addition to Google Labs which re-instates it on all logos.

Are you impressed that Google appears to be shedding its permanent beta image, or is the company simply responding to increasing pressure from other collaborative workspace vendors? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

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