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Gmail Marks Five Years In Beta

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the total-up-5-years-of-unread-messages dept.

Communications 194

TrekkieTechie writes "Though in fact the big day was April 1st, Google celebrated the five-year anniversary of the popular online email service Gmail with a post on the service's blog, saying 'we want to give a big thank you to all of you who use Gmail every day, to those who've been around since the beginning, to those who were using an AJAX app before the term AJAX was popular, to those who started chatting right in your email ... we couldn't have gotten here without you.' The milestone has also prompted speculation about when, if ever, Gmail will lose its beta status, and Ars Technica recently sat down with Todd Jackson, Gmail's Project Manager, to discuss the reasoning behind that nagging beta label."

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Beta? (4, Insightful)

Bored Grammar Nazi (1482359) | more than 5 years ago | (#27442401)

The milestone has also prompted speculation about when, if ever, Gmail will lose its beta status, and Ars Technica recently sat down with Todd Jackson, Gmail's Project Manager, to discuss the reasoning behind that nagging beta label.

Whatever the reason, it certainly is making people talk about it.

Hackers. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27442659)

Was the best movie of all time.

Re:Hackers. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27442835)

This is Unix.

I know this!

Re:Hackers. (1)

argoth (21958) | more than 5 years ago | (#27443169)

This is Unix.

I know this!

That's from Jurassic Park.

Re:Hackers. (1, Funny)

koterica (981373) | more than 5 years ago | (#27443213)

This is from Jurassic Park. I know this!

Re:Beta? (5, Funny)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 5 years ago | (#27442725)

Look, I keep trying to explain this, but nobody wants to listen to reason. Google's engineering population contains a high percentile of gamers, and they're not taking Gmail out of beta until Duke Nukem Forever is released. Geez, it's the second Slashdot story today I've had to comment in to point out these obvious parallels to the sinister ties between extreme gaming and our everyday lives.

Re:Beta? (4, Insightful)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 5 years ago | (#27443219)

Witht he changes they have been making I actually feel the quality is degrading.

It has a lot of nice new features, but it feels like it is hanging a lot more often too.

It actually now feels more, not less like a beta to me.

Re:Beta? (3, Interesting)

YouWantFriesWithThat (1123591) | more than 5 years ago | (#27443261)

i used to have a lot of problems with gmail hanging, especially when dealing with attachments (either inbound or outbound). also had a stretch of time where it would never actually get to the inbox after i entered the login credentials, and i would sit at a white screen hours no matter what i did. but since i started logging in at the https version i have had no issues. YMMV of course, but give it a shot.

Re:Beta? (1)

jDeepbeep (913892) | more than 5 years ago | (#27443285)

but it feels like it is hanging a lot more often too.

Is this noticeable cross-browser?

Re:Beta? (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 5 years ago | (#27443655)

Safari and Firefox.

Konquorer sucks if not set to basic view, and I don't really use IE.

It hangs on login, I switch to basic, then to standard view real quick and it works.

The slow appears to impact only some users in our domain, so i assume it is a resource issue, with different hardware handling different user names.

Re:Beta? (4, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#27443515)

Maybe Gmail 1.0 is sort of like Warp 10--something that can never actually be reached. By the time it ends, it will be up to Beta release version 0.99999997

Still in beta? (4, Insightful)

Kuroji (990107) | more than 5 years ago | (#27442405)

Well, despite that a lot of Google's products seem to still have the beta tag, it also means that they aren't necessarily going to be held to the same standard. For example, when Gmail decides to up and die for a few hours while they upgrade.

Re:Still in beta? (2, Interesting)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#27442809)

Right. Contrast this to something like Google Search, which, on the very few (like, three?) occasions it's ever been down, everyone assumed that it was their own Internet that was at fault.

That's what I would assume the criteria would be -- Gmail will come out of beta when it's as stable as Google's other services that are out of beta.

Of course, TFA seems to be operating under a different definition of "beta". IMAP is certainly a feature I would demand from a service like Gmail, but it really isn't a measure of stability.

Re:Still in beta? (1)

cyofee (975070) | more than 5 years ago | (#27442953)

Not to spoil your reasoning, but Gmail actually _does_ have IMAP. Granted, it's a bit buggy, but nothing you can't get around.

Re:Still in beta? (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#27443199)

I realize Gmail has IMAP, didn't mean to imply otherwise. TFA is talking about IMAP support as one of the items that was on the checklist of features Gmail has to have before it can lose the Beta tag.

Re:Still in beta? (4, Insightful)

v1 (525388) | more than 5 years ago | (#27443375)

GMail has imap, though you have to deliberately turn it on (it's off by default) and the switch isn't exactly glaringly obvious.

I believe the reason it's still "beta" is right now a LOT of people are using it as NON beta, for business, other important uses, or perhaps it's their only email address. Google probably knows that there's always that 1-in-1000 chance that something they do will break it in a way that causes data loss, or scrambles things badly enough for a few users that there won't be any reasonable way to fix it short of reset their mailboxes. When this happens, having the "beta" tag still on it will soften the public backlash a lot.

There's a couple ISPs in this area that have horrid email systems. One of them (Qwest) farmed out their email to MSN Live last year, and that has been an unrelenting nightmare for their customers. Whenever they approach us to help with their email, we convert them to gmail, and all of their problems instantly go away. That was after spending TWO hours on the phone being bounced between MSN and Qwest, each telling us that all the issues were the other's problem. We're very thankful to have GMail as an alternative to give to our customers.

GMail also happens to be the only imap email account I have, which is probably unusual since I have six of them, but that makes it something I can access from my ipod touch, which is a nice bonus. (yes it does pop too but you can't do concurrent pop on multiple computers without headaches)

I really do hope they keep it going, though I could personally care less if it never loses the "beta" tag.

Re:Still in beta? (1)

its_schwim (1247278) | more than 5 years ago | (#27443229)

The same standard as what, Hotmail? Because they never go down with no warning. The only difference is that's considered a stable application. It's all perception. Who gives a flip if it's got a tag on it. I would guess that less than 10% of GMail's users notice the tag.

Re:Still in beta? (1)

jDeepbeep (913892) | more than 5 years ago | (#27443335)

The only difference is that's considered a stable application.

I would hope so, considering it has been around for what, seven more years than Gmail?

Re:Still in beta? (1)

berwiki (989827) | more than 5 years ago | (#27443647)

... it also means that they aren't necessarily going to be held to the same standard...

No, once you start to include business people and regular 'joes', you can't hide behind a beta tag any longer. I completely disagree with your statement, if GMail went down for 2 hours today, there would be a lot of fallout, not any less because of a 'beta' icon at the top of the page.

Even with geeks, you start to lose your meaning of the word 'beta' after 5 freaking years!

Why? (5, Insightful)

Jurily (900488) | more than 5 years ago | (#27442407)

Does it matter if it's beta when it's still the best and most reliable free email service around?

Re:Why? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27442433)

Humanity is still in Beta and most people don't seem to mind that.

Re:Why? (1, Interesting)

creimer (824291) | more than 5 years ago | (#27442579)

Except the cockroaches are the only species to survive past Beta.

Re:Why? (1)

Tezcat (927703) | more than 5 years ago | (#27443043)

And crocodiles and a few other species which have remained relatively unchanged for millions of years. Of course, they may not be sutible for the next o/s we plan to settle on (be that Mars, or some other planet.)

Re:Why? (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 5 years ago | (#27442637)

Sadly, I think humanity is at that stage where there are so many patches and badly implemented crap that the only solution is to throw it all away and restart.

We're the cobol legacy piece of...

Why yes! I'm very happy with the new project!

Re:Why? (4, Funny)

codeButcher (223668) | more than 5 years ago | (#27442657)

Humanity is still in Beta

... and that is probably flattering yourself.

Re:Why? (1)

Fotograf (1515543) | more than 5 years ago | (#27442667)

males only are betas

Re:Why? (1)

Nofip (1174643) | more than 5 years ago | (#27443097)

Nah, they are mostly alphas.

Re:Why? (1)

ookabooka (731013) | more than 5 years ago | (#27442751)

*raises hand*

I do.

Re:Why? (2, Funny)

taragui (973029) | more than 5 years ago | (#27442765)

Only some of them. Most (at least judging from the general level of comments here in Slashdot) are Gammas, Deltas and Epsilons.

Perhaps GMail is glad it's a Beta, because Alphas work too hard?

Re:Why? (1)

MadKeithV (102058) | more than 5 years ago | (#27443245)

Forget Epsilon, Omega all the way baby!

Re:Why? (5, Funny)

Darth_brooks (180756) | more than 5 years ago | (#27442807)

Is that why so many "Alpha Male" types are knuckle dragging meat heads?

Re:Why? (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 5 years ago | (#27443047)

It just means it's still getting beta.

Re:Why? (2, Insightful)

SwedishPenguin (1035756) | more than 5 years ago | (#27443181)

I'll admit that certain individuals may be in Beta, but as a group, I'd say we're all still in pre-Alpha unfortunately.

Re:Why? (0, Redundant)

karait (711632) | more than 5 years ago | (#27442459)

Perhaps because it is the best email service of its type perhaps its just a typo - perhaps it was meant to be Gmail better!

Re:Why? (4, Insightful)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 5 years ago | (#27442521)

Does it matter if it's beta when it's still the best and most reliable free email service around?

Quite the opposite.

When a friend told me he was closing a beta phase my first question was "Is it more stable than gmail?"

Re:Why? (2, Insightful)

Jurily (900488) | more than 5 years ago | (#27442717)

When a friend told me he was closing a beta phase my first question was "Is it more stable than gmail?"

If only more projects worked that way...

Re:Why? (1)

Saint Stephen (19450) | more than 5 years ago | (#27442623)

Clearly this is their version of "Windows ain't done till Lotus won't run." They'll come out of beta when Outlook is gone, and people run it for their corporate email.

Just wait till the corruption scandals start about people using Google's infrastructure to perform massive spying (beyond what's already known). It's human nature.

Re:Why? (5, Interesting)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#27442859)

Frankly, I'd much rather have Outlook be gone, for several reasons:

  - Gmail is pretty solidly technically superior, in most of the ways we care about. Example: It doesn't fall over if you put several hundred thousand emails in the same "folder".

  - Gmail moves the data off of the end-user's computer. Far, far too many Outlook setups (especially in small businesses) store everything locally, with no backup -- one hard drive crash away from all that archived email gone.

  - Gmail is platform-agnostic. It's actually annoyingly browser-aware, but all browsers are supported somewhat, and among the fully-supported browsers are Firefox and Safari, and Gecko and Webkit both exist for every platform I care about. That's one baby-step closer to Linux on the corporate desktop.

  - Google actually seems to support open standards -- for example, Gmail includes GTalk, which operates over Jabber. Email is available via IMAP, and calendars via caldav. Contrast to Outlook/Exchange -- the Halloween documents show that Microsoft deliberately chose proprietary protocols, as well as proprietary extensions/perversions of existing protocols.

Now, I'd still prefer we all start improving the existing open implementations, and get to where this is entirely open standard, commodity stuff, just like IMAP and SMTP is today. But Gmail would be a marked improvement over Outlook, in many ways.

Re:Why? (5, Informative)

Jurily (900488) | more than 5 years ago | (#27442955)

- Gmail moves the data off of the end-user's computer. Far, far too many Outlook setups (especially in small businesses) store everything locally, with no backup -- one hard drive crash away from all that archived email gone.

Sysadmins not doing backup is one thing, but how is surrendering all your data because it's convenient better?

Re:Why? (3, Insightful)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#27443183)

Sysadmins doing backups is only part of the problem, and convenience is pretty valuable.

I had a longer post written, but then I realized you've got a gmail.com address obfuscated up there. Clearly you think the benefits are worth any real or imagined loss of privacy.

Re:Why? (5, Interesting)

gusmao (712388) | more than 5 years ago | (#27442727)

You could say that not now.

Generally, the beta version is a prototype of the product that comes even before the release candidates. People don't usually pay for beta releases, and it's very uncommon for a product to remain so long in beta, especially when it is already stable, widely deployed and used daily by millions of users.

This curious fact generate especulations about the reasons for that, since so far, no good one was given. What if they decided for instance, that when Gmail is out of beta, the service will be no longer be free and a subscription model will be put in place? Or that the current storage will be available only for premium users? Or that the service will be simply discontinued? The beta versioning could easily provide an excuse for any of those or other changes that could directly impact you, especially after you come to rely strongly on the service.

Re:Why? (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#27442869)

All of those things could easily be done without the beta label. The only way they'd really have much obligation to you is if you were paying them already.

As it is, the IMAP access means that worst case, you could be backing up your data right now and preparing for that worst case.

Re:Why? (4, Insightful)

dirk (87083) | more than 5 years ago | (#27442851)

It matters because it weakens the meaning of being in beta and confuses users. It used to be that beta was for testing. If you downloaded and installed a beta product, it was understood that there would be bugs and problems and they should be reported. With Google using beta as a constant tag (I remember ICQ used to do this back in the day to), users don't have a clear understanding of what a beta is anymore. They think beta is just a new product and don't expect bugs and don't report them. Open beta is a much harder thing to get useful information from if people judge your beta product just like they would a finished product, which is what is beginning to happen with places like Google tagging regular released like beta releases.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27442891)

When I hear "best webmail service" I think of fastmail [fastmail.fm] , not google.

Re:Why? (3, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 5 years ago | (#27442917)

Being beta usually means something is missing. If you see beta software in "de facto production" like GMail is, it usually means that it was a proof of concept/prototype/pilot that people ended up using and relying on without the proper moves to production envinronments, handover from development to support, SLAs, backups, support channels and whatnot. Having a beta acting like a release is not a healthy sign, it's a sign of sickness. Whenever you have something that you want people to actually work with, not just fiddle with and test out it should be a release with all that encompasses. Introducing beta as the lowest support tier is just bullshit, it's per definition not an end-user release.

Re:Why? (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 5 years ago | (#27443089)

Being beta usually means something is missing.

Yes, a pricetag.

Still alpha (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27442441)

Gmail2 [nimp.org]

Re:Still alpha (1)

asdir (1195869) | more than 5 years ago | (#27442861)

DO NOT CLICK the link in the parent. Especially if you are at work. :-(

What a coincidence... (5, Funny)

VinylRecords (1292374) | more than 5 years ago | (#27442443)

This also marks the five year anniversary of me not using HotMail or Outlook Express.

Re:What a coincidence... (2, Insightful)

threexk (1296707) | more than 5 years ago | (#27442611)

Or five years of Gmail user smugness.

Re:What a coincidence... (3, Insightful)

peragrin (659227) | more than 5 years ago | (#27442883)

So that explains Mac users. People who enjoy being able to use their software are smug.

Does that make all windows users maschosists?

Re:What a coincidence... (2, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#27443587)

The only thing you can't be smug about is bandwidth use. Gmail overuses XML for everything and thus inflates bandwidth usage dramatically. I couldn't even change my fucking settings on a modem because I couldn't bring up the page before the timeout. No kidding.

Re:What a coincidence... (1)

kokoko1 (833247) | more than 5 years ago | (#27442679)

Same here not using yahoo, hotmail since gmail launched.

Re:What a coincidence... (1)

jw3 (99683) | more than 5 years ago | (#27443041)

Beat this: gmail made me abandon pine...

j.

Re:What a coincidence... (1)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 5 years ago | (#27443083)

Okay, Wordpress made me abandon mahogany.

Re:What a coincidence... (4, Funny)

robot_love (1089921) | more than 5 years ago | (#27443771)

I read that as "Wordpress made me abandon monogamy".

I thought, "I must look into this 'Wordpress'".

Tag (5, Insightful)

daniduclos (1329089) | more than 5 years ago | (#27442471)

A Beta tag only makes sense if there is a "final" release planned at some point in the future. If it's going to be forever in Beta, it becomes meaningless, just like those web pages of 1999 with an eternal "under construction" gif.

Re:Tag (4, Funny)

Starayo (989319) | more than 5 years ago | (#27442665)

Hey! I'm going to finish it one day!

Re:Tag -- Informative score goes to 11 (2, Insightful)

Fotograf (1515543) | more than 5 years ago | (#27443341)

it is plausible deniability front page for hidden community websites. You would be surprised how much few of them are alive. Oops. First rule of hidden community... Almost violated.

5 years of searchable private emails (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 5 years ago | (#27442481)

They know everything about you. Or at least their AI does.

It's an interesting model: to enable truly targeted advertising using the personal information contained in the person's email.

So much for privacy, I suppose.

Re:5 years of searchable private emails (1)

Kokuyo (549451) | more than 5 years ago | (#27442543)

I've yet to see an ad, so I wouldn't know about that...

But frankly, stuff that people shouldn't know I won't leave on ANY server that I don't have full control over. So Google is in no way worse than any other free online service.

Re:5 years of searchable private emails (1)

Architect_sasyr (938685) | more than 5 years ago | (#27442867)

I run some fairly restrictive NoScript and AdBlock filters and I still get that single line at the very top of the page. Right now it says:

ShadowProtect - AUD$995 - www.storagecraft.com.au - SBS, Exchange & SQL - 12 Min DR Never lose more than 15 min of data

If there is a way to turn that off, I'm not familiar with it. Still, it is only one line and I don't tend to notice that it is there (especially with the green and black console interface turned on).

Re:5 years of searchable private emails (2, Informative)

Baricom (763970) | more than 5 years ago | (#27442979)

Those are web clips - it's a mini-RSS reader that lives above the Gmail interface. If you don't use the feature, you can turn it off in Settings.

Re:5 years of searchable private emails (1)

IW4 (837675) | more than 5 years ago | (#27443455)

If there is a way to turn that off, I'm not familiar with it.

Settings > Web Clips > uncheck "Show my web clips above the Inbox."

Re:5 years of searchable private emails (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 5 years ago | (#27443103)

I've yet to see an ad,

Me neither. Especially when I access my gmail through Thunderbird.

No spam, either. I've got to give it to gmail's spam filters. They are pretty good.

oh noes (2, Funny)

jessica_alba (1234100) | more than 5 years ago | (#27442587)

they know i have erectile-dysfunction and am also insecure about my bust size, and on a more dubious note, I am most likely personally responsible for all Nigerian immigration to the US. Oh yeah, I also get mail from the future...wait a second, I'm thinking about my old yahoo mail account. seriously though, how much energy is wasted hosting my personal collection of over 100,000 unread spam emails.

Re:oh noes (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 5 years ago | (#27443121)

That's funny, I was just thinking about how I never see that kind of spam in gmail, outside of in the spam folder, to which I pay zero attention.

Re:5 years of searchable private emails (1)

0xygen (595606) | more than 5 years ago | (#27442801)

It does constantly amuse me how the targeting is rather lacking in intelligence.

My last name happens to be the same as a region of the UK - I am forever seeing adverts relating to this region.

Clearly the rest of my e-mail is too mundane to trigger and product keywords! :(

Re:5 years of searchable private emails (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 5 years ago | (#27443131)

My last name happens to be the same as a region of the UK

Mr. Shoreditch? Is that you?

Re:5 years of searchable private emails (2, Insightful)

cryfreedomlove (929828) | more than 5 years ago | (#27443313)

The decision to use gmail is voluntary. The growth of gmail is a strong signal that the market trusts Google or simply does not care about privacy.

Gmail is a sandbox (3, Interesting)

Basje (26968) | more than 5 years ago | (#27442485)

Gmail is the beta for the Google Apps mail component. It's not likely that it will ever come out of beta status: it being beta has a function.

Re:Gmail is a sandbox (3, Funny)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 5 years ago | (#27442585)

it being beta has a function.

f()?

Re:Gmail is a sandbox (4, Funny)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 5 years ago | (#27442599)

f()?

crap.

P.S.: f() -> f(Greek small letter beta) ...

I'll go back to my cave.

Re:Gmail is a sandbox (1)

bemymonkey (1244086) | more than 5 years ago | (#27442823)

Sounds about right. Pay for it, and you get a product that's guaranteed to work.

I suppose you won't get all the Labs updates right away if you do that though... I'm perfectly fine with regular Gmail (although WM6.1 pisses me off with its inability to handle IMAP properly)...

Gmail is Effective . (5, Insightful)

ajay_walia (240348) | more than 5 years ago | (#27442575)

Beta no Beta it has been a Good experience using Gmail . Moreover it changed the Market freeing us of Quota's . . . .

Consumer psychology (3, Interesting)

threexk (1296707) | more than 5 years ago | (#27442577)

"Beta" is just being used as a buzz word to make Gmail perpetually seem like the hip new computer thing.

Re:Consumer psychology (3, Informative)

shish (588640) | more than 5 years ago | (#27442961)

Either that, or the published reason: A feature all google services must have is "profit", and gmail is still lacking that feature. (FYI: I'm using the paid-for google apps bundle, and it's not marked as beta)

Keep on truckin' (1)

qpawn (1507885) | more than 5 years ago | (#27442687)

Much like my puberty, some things are neverending.

Better interface (1)

Orlando (12257) | more than 5 years ago | (#27442739)

I hope version 1.0 will have a decent, non-beta looking user interface.

Re:Better interface (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#27442885)

Aside from the fact that it's skinnable, I find the UI actually quite usable. It has most of the same keyboard shortcuts you'd expect in a mail client.

Why? (1)

anilg (961244) | more than 5 years ago | (#27443327)

I love the Gmail interface. It simple, clean and easy to use. No flashy ads, no weird landing page when you first login, and easy to remember shortcut keys. I even love the nice whats-it-called-indicator for a mail where a '>>' is shown for a direct mail to you and a '>' for a mail you are one of the party.

Whats more, I like this interface better than thunderbird/outlook where they have 2 panes.. one for the list if mails, and one to read the mail. That never made sense UI wise.. a user will only be looking at one thing at a time, either selecting a mail or reading a mail.. and Gmail's ajax interface tops here. I cant imagine life without the conversation model.. Thunderbirds's treeview is simply no match (aside: is there a client that does has gmail like conversation view)

I'm no fanboi.. but I do like to recommend very well though out and user-friendly products, and Gmail is certainly one of them.

Beta is meaningless (5, Insightful)

krou (1027572) | more than 5 years ago | (#27442747)

Generally, any usage of the Beta tag is meaningless in the world of web-based applications. In fact, it's meaningless for most web-pages. The reason is very simple: a site should be constantly working to improve and change. The change that happens is not bound by the traditional software version release, either. All websites are, by default, in a perpetual beta, whether its users know it or not, which makes the label itself meaningless.

Re:Beta is meaningless (1)

YourExperiment (1081089) | more than 5 years ago | (#27442933)

There's no reason not to have a version control system for a web-based app, and a release cycle to go with it. The reason sites don't tend to do this is that no-one takes web apps seriously enough to bother.

Re:Beta is meaningless (2, Insightful)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 5 years ago | (#27443163)

You definitely don't understand, then. Most professional websites are -not- live-tested on their users. There's a 'beta' behind the scenes with actual testers, not just random users.

Very few professional websites do what GMail is doing and have the 'beta' version be the live version.

And don't confuse 'having bugs' with being a 'beta'. All software has bugs, no matter what stage of development it's in.

Re:Beta is meaningless (2, Funny)

alpayerturkmen (981639) | more than 5 years ago | (#27443637)

The reason is very simple: a site should be constantly working to improve and change.

No all sites can improve. http://www.endoftheinternet.com/ [endoftheinternet.com]

It'd have been better if he didn't try to explain (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27442795)

But the decision to drop Gmail's beta badge hinges on a few internal criteria (or, perhaps more accurately, feature requirements) that his team feels are still lacking.

I don't really mind the beta tag - sure it's dumb, but it doesn't really matter. Their explanation, though, is offensively stupid. Keeping a semi-permanent beta status on a stable and usable product because you want to add more features, features that obviously take several months or years to add, is simply an absurd redefinition of what beta means.

I wonder what their standards are to increment a full version number, and how many generations will have come and gone before that happens.

5 years beta = (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27442839)

Omega?

Would sound more "cool" in any case.

Wash your hands clean of it... (5, Insightful)

greedom (1431073) | more than 5 years ago | (#27442907)

Google is notorious for keeping most of it's apps in the Beta stages because if it works, it's considered a fantastic app and when some hacker finds a huge security flaw in it or something of that nature, Google can just throw up their hands and say "Hey, it's still in Beta".

Re:Wash your hands clean of it... (1)

godfra (839112) | more than 5 years ago | (#27442991)

Mod parent up! This is *exactly* what they are doing.

Earliest adopter? (outside Google) (1, Interesting)

uncle slacky (1125953) | more than 5 years ago | (#27443003)

I joined on April 12, 2004 (invited by a Google employee).

Can anyone who didn't work for Google at the time beat that?

Re:Earliest adopter? (outside Google) (5, Funny)

u38cg (607297) | more than 5 years ago | (#27443179)

No, but I could beat you with a stick made of pure solidified smugness. How's that for ya?

Re:Earliest adopter? (outside Google) (1)

Crookdotter (1297179) | more than 5 years ago | (#27443471)

Doesn't beat it but I was 28th August 2004, with this:

Guess who's just scored a Gmail account? They are like internet golddust :) I'm finally in with the elite crowd eh? 1Gb of storage........ ahhh, the space.

love n hugs,

Beta or Not (1)

Davemania (580154) | more than 5 years ago | (#27443191)

GMail was innovative and provided a better service than hotmail or yahoo did at that time. It forced the competitors to provide a much better package in the long run. I don't know why people are so hanged up on the beta naming.

My Own GMail (2, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 5 years ago | (#27443251)

Much as GMail is an interesting mail platform, I don't like the idea of Google getting all of my email to look thru, along with my entire contact list and traffic records with them. Even if GMail received and sent only encrypted messages, the metadata would be private. And Google already has my entire search history, as well as a lot of my click trail (REFERER incoming to searches, cached/PDF-to-HTML docs, YouTube, whatever might even run across a Google backbone). I don't need one filthy rich entity with cross-referenced records of my entire online activity.

If the GMail server were downloadable to my own server or independent ISP, I'd use it. I'd love it as software. But as service, it seems too tempting for Google to be evil.

Re:My Own GMail (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#27443435)

Well, there are lots of webmail products out there. Horde/IMP comes to mind as does Squirrelmail. Horde/IMP is the closest to doing everything Gmail does.

Gmail will be out of beta... (1)

castironpigeon (1056188) | more than 5 years ago | (#27443265)

...when Google starts charging for it.

AJAX what? (1)

Seth Kriticos (1227934) | more than 5 years ago | (#27443269)

I mean, I love gmail because of the reliability, effective spam filtering, volume and imap access. But what is this AJAX thing about? Can I eat it? Can I use my key to sign or encrypt my messages over it? No? I stay with my local client then. Thanks.

"Beta" for Gmail is still valid... (3, Interesting)

pongo000 (97357) | more than 5 years ago | (#27443677)

...because there are still some very persistent performance issues that need to be worked out. The AJAX interface is incredibly sluggish on just about any browser/CPU combination I use it with. Very frustrating to have to wait seconds after each submit for the interface to respond.

This is further proof of the fallacy that just because something is affiliated with Google, it must be a good thing.

Long live mutt. (Don't laugh...the response time for mutt on even my slowest machine is several orders of magnitude greater than Gmail.)

And in other news... (1)

British (51765) | more than 5 years ago | (#27443769)

Website "still under construction" after 5 years.

Seriously, Gmail's great. It's doing better in beta than most other final-product web-based emails. it seems several web-based email setups can't even synchronize the "inbox" indicator(ie boldface to show you # of emails) with the new emails on the right frame. I'm looking at you Outlook webmail & squirrelmail. Gmail has none of that.

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