Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The longest "BETA" products

In software development cycle, we oftenly use the term ALPHA and BETA term to indicate a progressing software, but somehow ready to make a test hit. In my own experience, we usually use BETA only for stating a software meet its basic function but yet to test througly. There's no exact rule on how long a software should be put on beta before its final release.

For a s
oftware company, when it meet all initial designed functionality and performance, then it's OK to be released and leave the beta stage. I'm not sure what are GMAIL guys think of, but the product never officially release.

When it first announce on April fool's day 2004, this phenomenal free mail really changes the paradigm of free mail services. Yahoo previously only provide max 10MB of mailbox, now even no limit. Others are previously closed the pop access now consider to reenable. And the Ajax-interface inspire other web application to follow so.

What's now ?

It's been BETA for more than 5 years. It doesn't make any sense that a product still in beta for such long time, even I start to think maybe "beta" is the product name. I'm not really sure what is their initial design and plan, but for me, it's surpased any free mail service that makes Gmail more ready than any other similar service to get out of the Beta stage.

Do you know any software that labeled Beta longer than Gmail does ?