Google on criteria for keeping products in 'beta'

Google is celebrating its 10th birthday, but a 'beta' status still accompanies some of the web giant's most famous applications, such as Gmail, Google Docs and Google Finance. Google has argued that this is because it adopts a different definition of 'beta' to other firms. "We have a broad notion of what constitutes 'beta'," said a Google […]

Google is celebrating its 10th birthday, but a 'beta' status still accompanies some of the web giant's most famous applications, such as Gmail, Google Docs and Google Finance. Google has argued that this is because it adopts a different definition of 'beta' to other firms.

"We have a broad notion of what constitutes 'beta'," said a Google spokesman. "We do not tend to get hung up on beta as a stage. No one in the company keeps an overall track of what is in beta and what is not."

The spokesman dismissed any possibility of a connection between the beta status of Gmail and Goole Docs with problems users may have experienced with their Google accounts in recent months.

He claimed that the length of time Google applications are kept in beta is simply down to the amount of testing performed on the products, although this is only on products launched since its flagship Search, which was never officially in 'beta'.

"For example we re-engineered the back end of Gmail last year so that the code could be streamlined," he said. "And we are constantly working on things like lower outages."

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