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Google Considers Taking Beta Tag Off Gmail

CmdrTaco posted more than 5 years ago | from the in-your-lifetime dept.

Google 180

Barence writes "Google is considering removing the beta tag from Gmail — and other online services — a mere five years after it was first launched. Google has become somewhat synonymous with seemingly endless beta cycles. Many of the company's most famous services, including Gmail, Docs, and Calendar all still carry the beta tag. Google now admits the eternal beta cycles could be damaging consumer and business confidence in its online apps. 'It's a minor annoyance and something you'll see addressed in the not-too-distant future.'"

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Whew! (3, Funny)

homey of my owney (975234) | more than 5 years ago | (#28122671)

That'll make things better!

Re:Whew! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28122793)

Yup. I feel better already

Re:Whew! (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28123617)

That'll make things better!

Not as long at it only runs on QT and Linsux. Where's the support for good, highly secure operating systems like Windows Vista?

Re:Whew! (5, Funny)

beerbear (1289124) | more than 5 years ago | (#28123981)

What a bizarre thing to say about a web app.

Obama Auto Task Force - Chicago Ganster Politics (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28123627)

...at it's finest. Turns out that all of the Chrysler dealerships that are being closed down by the gov't - I repeat: being closed down by the gov't - contributed to Republican campaigns with the exception of a SINGLE dealership. Now what do you suppose the odds of that being a coincidence are? Is this the job creation that Obama promised us - taking revenge against private citizens and their employees? So much for a new era of responsibility, hope, change, etc. All Obama's talk of post-partisanship was campaign bullshit. Turns out he's the most vindictive son of a bitch since Andrew Jackson!

Re:Obama Auto Task Force - Chicago Ganster Politic (0, Offtopic)

andymadigan (792996) | more than 5 years ago | (#28123929)

Get a brain, Chrysler is closing down those dealerships as part of its bankruptcy *because it ran its business poorly and is out of money*. It would have run out of money sooner without government bailouts. Unless you can prove that:

1) The government picked the dealerships to be closed
AND
2) A disproportionate number of dealerships were republican funders (e.g. how many of ALL Chrysler dealerships donated to the GOP verus number that were closed)

You're just making shit up. You cannot prove #1, so even if #2 is true it's Chrysler's decision, not the Government.

Are you honestly saying that Chrysler should get more government money to save their failing business? Isn't that Socialism?

Re:Whew! (5, Funny)

Neoncow (802085) | more than 5 years ago | (#28123647)

No, it doesn't get any beta than this.

Re:Whew! (1)

squeeze69 (756427) | more than 5 years ago | (#28124187)

Don't know if things will be better, but I believe they will put a "gamma" tag.

In the not too distant future (5, Funny)

RemoWilliams84 (1348761) | more than 5 years ago | (#28122685)

It's a minor annoyance and something you'll see addressed in the not-too-distant future.

3000 A.D. Sha la la

Re:In the not too distant future (4, Funny)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#28122873)

Perhaps it will be 2101 A.D.? Move every 'Beta'.

Re:In the not too distant future (1, Troll)

Dorkmaster Flek (1013045) | more than 5 years ago | (#28123427)

For great justice.

Re:In the not too distant future (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28123681)

Please read and at least attempt to understand comment before replying, kthxbye.

I have read and at least attempted to understand your comment. I don't.

Re:In the not too distant future (5, Funny)

LMacG (118321) | more than 5 years ago | (#28123413)

> 3000 A.D. Sha la la

Errr, that would be "Next Sunday, AD", actually.

Re:In the not too distant future (1)

TheGreatOrangePeel (618581) | more than 5 years ago | (#28123605)

Sadly, I have no mod points to give to you.

GASP! (5, Funny)

Deus.1.01 (946808) | more than 5 years ago | (#28122693)

But...but...is it READY?!

Because i still find it annoying to search for porn with my specific fetish.
(you heard me)

Google Beta (5, Insightful)

dspkable (773450) | more than 5 years ago | (#28122703)

I believe more people probably know what Google means then they know what Beta means. Google has become the biggest of the BIG companies (without imploding or needing government bailout). 8 to 1 searchers use Google over Microsoft Search Engine, so what Google's 'beta' is, is really what the industry standard has become.

Re:Google Beta (4, Funny)

Deus.1.01 (946808) | more than 5 years ago | (#28122767)

Wait? "BETA" is the NEW industry standard?

I thought releasing shoddy untested products allways was the industry standard.

Re:Google Beta (5, Insightful)

E IS mC(Square) (721736) | more than 5 years ago | (#28122867)

But that's the irony! Some (not all) of Google's Beta products are miles better than other "production" products. Go figure.

Re:Google Beta (2, Interesting)

twistedsymphony (956982) | more than 5 years ago | (#28123909)

further proof that they are in-fact the antithesis of Microsoft.

Re:Google Beta (2, Informative)

genghisjahn (1344927) | more than 5 years ago | (#28123003)

The article is talking about gmail. Google search hasn't been in beta for quite awhile.

Re:Google Beta (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28123125)

Google has become the biggest of the BIG companies. 8 to 1 searchers use Google over Microsoft Search Engine, so what Google's 'beta' is, is really what the industry standard has become.

What that's got to do with their [b]email[/b] system being labeled as unstable/beta is beyond my comprehension. And why that post is +5 Insightful as well. What a crap post.

Re:Google Beta (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28124061)

Please explain how Google is the "biggest of the BIG companies" when it doesn't even rank in the top 50?

Financial Times Global 500 [ft.com]

Please tag this. (4, Funny)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 5 years ago | (#28122705)

Hellmightfreezeover.

Coming soon... (5, Funny)

lewko (195646) | more than 5 years ago | (#28122707)

Gmail - Acceptance Testing.

Re:Coming soon... (2, Funny)

BladeMelbourne (518866) | more than 5 years ago | (#28122755)

It's no longer beta, it's gamma.

Re:Coming soon... (1)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 5 years ago | (#28124289)

Forget beta, forget gamma, it's time we went... PLAID!

Re:Coming soon... (2, Funny)

CambodiaSam (1153015) | more than 5 years ago | (#28123089)

i was thinking Release Candidate 0

Hahaha (2, Funny)

EmagGeek (574360) | more than 5 years ago | (#28122723)

There's no way GMail is ready for "release."

Re:Hahaha (4, Insightful)

Tihstae (86842) | more than 5 years ago | (#28122819)

Now that they have tested that it indeed can have outages, it is ready for release. Until they had outages, it wasn't fully tested.

Re:Hahaha (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#28123283)

GMail has ALWAYS had outages, there have been whole days where google told me it couldn't log me in, or just looped back to the login page with no message.

Re:Hahaha (5, Funny)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#28123711)

And then you remembered your password?

Re:Hahaha (0, Redundant)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#28123879)

Apparently unlike you, I can tell the difference between an error message, and "no message". But you apparently don't know what the latter term means, even when it appears in my comment.

The simple truth is that there has always been gmail downtime. Gmail even "lost" a bunch of email (IIRC all of it was restored from backup) on one occasion. They didn't [apparently] lose any of mine at that time, though. I haven't been there from the beginning or anything, but I've had a gmail account for some time.

Re:Hahaha (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#28123935)

Oh boo hoo.

Re:Hahaha (4, Funny)

CristalShandaLear (762536) | more than 5 years ago | (#28123013)

Can I get an invite? From someone? Please? I've been wanting to try out gmail for so long. You can contact me through my blog on Blogger...

Re:Hahaha (1)

ubersoldat2k7 (1557119) | more than 5 years ago | (#28123545)

Can I get an invite? From someone? Please? I've been wanting to try out gmail for so long. You can contact me through my blog on Blogger...

If you have a blogger account you already have gmail... I know, I know!

Re:Hahaha (1)

Inda (580031) | more than 5 years ago | (#28124099)

I have 49 invites left. They're all yours. Happy spamming!

Put a Beta Tag on Slashdot (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28122761)

Put a Beta Tag on Slashdot
(in case you can't read the comment titles)

Jesus. Why does Slashdot always look totally broken?

Re:Put a Beta Tag on Slashdot (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 5 years ago | (#28122801)

Perhaps it should be Web 2.0 RC1?

Re:Put a Beta Tag on Slashdot (1)

miknix (1047580) | more than 5 years ago | (#28122875)

Perhaps it should be Web 2.0 RC1?

No more blinking and sonorous ads please.

Re:Put a Beta Tag on Slashdot (1)

JustOK (667959) | more than 5 years ago | (#28122857)

it's out of alpha already? oh dear.

Re:Put a Beta Tag on Slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28122865)

Why does Slashdot always look totally broken?

The dark halo of the userbase spills over it.

Re:Put a Beta Tag on Slashdot (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28123045)

because slashdot is totally broken. If you look at slashcode (or the infrastructure behind slashdot) you'll soon realize what a horrible mess it is. The surprise isn't that it sucks as much as it does, but that it doesn't suck more.

Slashdot should be rewritten in RoR but VA Linux (r whatever they call themselves this week) doesn't have the money or inclination to improve slashdot.

Re:Put a Beta Tag on Slashdot (1)

neochubbz (937091) | more than 5 years ago | (#28123129)

So its not just me? Does anyone have a solution to this? -Chubbz

Re:Put a Beta Tag on Slashdot (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28123471)

Yeah...turn off javascript. Seriously all this "Web 2.0" crap makes my web browser jump all over the place on the main slashdot page. Why can't it just be a simple layout without all the mess? I've got two devices that have embedded Opera...works great everywhere except slashdot, where it sends the browsers into high-cpu hell trying to render all this junk.

Re:Put a Beta Tag on Slashdot (1)

WebmasterNeal (1163683) | more than 5 years ago | (#28123137)

The sad thing is, Slashdot looks broken in browser WITH proper standards support like Firefox, Opera & Safari. God only knows how bad it looks in IE.

i used slashdot in ie for a long time (3, Interesting)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#28123453)

in fact, i am a recent ie convert to google chrome, for many reasons, but not least of which was the fact that slashdot looked like ass in ie

i thought it was some linux tribe thumb in the eye to microsoft: we're purposely going to make ie users suffer. ok, fine, i understand the passion to sabotage. but apparently the linux tribe hates google/webkit just as much, as the most glaring page display errors (weird dead white space in prominent spots, disappearing titles) are the same in chrome. cross browser support is one thing, but cross browser page rendering bug support is quite the accomplishment!

slashdot: fix your damn css. or at least enable old school html only. we are mostly hard core techies here, we can handle it, we don't need myspace eyecandy. please lose your insecurity over ajaxy digg stealing your show. we hate digg. but we don't want to hate slashdot too, for the sake of some really, really easy javascript/ css fixes

Re:i used slashdot in ie for a long time (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#28123775)

'old school html only' is a preference if you are logged in. Not exactly that, but that idea (Preferences -> Classic Index -> General).

There is a bit of ajax for messages now, though it is probably actually an improvement.

Re:Put a Beta Tag on Slashdot (2, Insightful)

Phroggy (441) | more than 5 years ago | (#28124131)

I liked the new AJAX comment form, but then they broke it. It's still functional, but the CSS is horked now.

Coming soon... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28122807)

GMail Release Candidate 1.

Re:Coming soon... (1)

NervousNerd (1190935) | more than 5 years ago | (#28123155)

So, when is it going to RTM?

About time! (1)

Kylock (608369) | more than 5 years ago | (#28122815)

My university was transitioning their mail back end to google shortly after I left. Good to know that they are considering it good enough to not be beta anymore.

Release Candidate (0, Redundant)

fatp (1171151) | more than 5 years ago | (#28122835)

So the next will be release candidate?
Wondering how many RC will they make...

Snake sez... (3, Funny)

DarrenBaker (322210) | more than 5 years ago | (#28122839)

Oh, no! Beta!

Re:Snake sez... (3, Funny)

DewDude (537374) | more than 5 years ago | (#28123437)

"Coming this fall from Google Labs... GMail VHS! All the features of the Beta version in a bulkier inferior package!"

Tarnished reputation (4, Insightful)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 5 years ago | (#28122877)

How can Google be taken seriously in an enterprise environment if their most stable and successful offshoot project takes 5 years to come out of beta? They should have done this 3 years ago or more. Gmail has been sufficiently stable all this time, yet this self-deprecating beta designation has constantly served as an admission of being non-committal to SLA.

Re:Tarnished reputation (4, Insightful)

harryandthehenderson (1559721) | more than 5 years ago | (#28123057)

How can Google be taken seriously in an enterprise environment if their most stable and successful offshoot project takes 5 years to come out of beta?

Probably the fact that the version used by paying customers isn't a beta version? The "beta" version is the free-for-use version that they use to beta test any new features they add.

They should have done this 3 years ago or more.

Why? The free, public version is always going to be in a beta state since that's it's entire purpose.

Gmail has been sufficiently stable all this time, yet this self-deprecating beta designation has constantly served as an admission of being non-committal to SLA.

I'm pretty sure all the corporate customers they have would say otherwise.

Re:Tarnished reputation (3, Funny)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 5 years ago | (#28123443)

Probably the fact that the version used by paying customers isn't a beta version? The "beta" version is the free-for-use version that they use to beta test any new features they add.

The corporate and educational versions are really no different from the free versions except that they changed the Gmail Beta jpg and added more storage. They still have a Google Labs Beta in the corporate version so that your employees can enjoy the benefit of unsupported toys like beer goggles.

Re:Tarnished reputation (5, Insightful)

Tei (520358) | more than 5 years ago | (#28123059)

"How can Google be taken seriously in an enterprise environment if their most stable and successful offshoot project takes 5 years to come out of beta?"

The Beta tag let Google make changes that judge will make the service much better. These changes withouth the Beta tag are mostly "disallowed". Removing the Beta tag is much like a pact "We will not make mayor changes to the service, that will break your work". In my book great changes to make a service better is a good thing, the level of breaks of Gmail is high, but I can live with it. I will feel sad that the tag will be removed, because will mean maybe much less errors (or maybe not), but It will sure mean less and less enhancements of the service. And I blame the people like YOU.

Re:Tarnished reputation (2, Interesting)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 5 years ago | (#28123473)

Is email a service you can afford to lose because Google is playing with new features?

Re:Tarnished reputation (4, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#28124011)

Nah, Google now has the "Labs" tag in settings, so you can try out "beta" Gmail features (or stuff they just haven't yet figured out how to stuff into the interface.) In actuality, the only difference will be more clicks to turn on the new, untested stuff.

Re:Tarnished reputation (2, Insightful)

rob1980 (941751) | more than 5 years ago | (#28123213)

The only difference between a "beta" product like Gmail and any other software product requiring monthly patches is the fact that Google is honest enough to still call their product a work in progress. Like you said it's sufficiently stable for most folks, but I'd argue that they aren't any more non-committal to their SLA than other companies are to getting their product right on the first try. And anybody in charge of purchasing software for their organization - assuming they're doing their job properly and getting sufficient information before making decisions - will be aware of that fact.

Re:Tarnished reputation (1)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 5 years ago | (#28123585)

My point isn't necessarily that they are correctly or incorrectly labelling their product as Beta - my point is that it's been in public beta for 5 or 6 years now and that makes this company, with record profits and over 10,000 engineers, incompetent.

Re:Tarnished reputation (1)

an unsound mind (1419599) | more than 5 years ago | (#28123219)

So not officially releasing a product until it's properly tested, stable and has all required features... is a bad thing now?

Take your pointy hair and go away.

Re:Tarnished reputation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28123357)

Or maybe the bad thing is how long they need to properly test an email service. Web interface to email is something other mail providers have done for ages. It is not like they are landing a man on the moon. I might be wrong but wasn't the feature that put them ahead of others just the insanely huge storage space they offered, compared to others?

I personally still can't understand why people are not somewhat alarmed by the fact that Google scans their mails.

Re:Tarnished reputation (4, Funny)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 5 years ago | (#28123493)

Why does it take a company with 10,000 engineers 5 years to make a 20 year old communications protocol stable?

Re:Tarnished reputation (1)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 5 years ago | (#28124195)

because it's a 20 year old protocol?

Re:Tarnished reputation (0)

ledow (319597) | more than 5 years ago | (#28123225)

Because they want to make SURE it works before they remove the label? I don't get the modern obsession with releasing stuff on day one and then patching endlessly. I'd much rather wait until a company says "Right, we're finally happy with it" before they start tagging things with version numbers. If that were the case, "Windows XP" would actually mean what we now call "XP SP2/SP3", "Windows 95" would have meant "Windows 98SE" and "Windows 7" would have meant "Vista SP2 with knobs on" - which happen to have been my exact definitions for usable systems in those particular product lines. And, to be honest, I'm not even happy deploying Vista/Windows 7 at the moment because there's just too many changes and problems to say that it's good, stable, reliable, etc. with most business software and network integrations.

A network admin does not just install software the second it is released. It takes *years* of testing, literally, before something is able to be categorised as good/working or not in a corporate environment. Just because there are a lot of cowboys who slap Automatic Updates on, along with every latest version they can find does not mean that's the best way to do things. Pick a version that works, stick with it, TEST it, and analyse every update for the exact impact (which means more testing). Otherwise, things are likely to just break "for no reason". Most educational establishments I've worked for still run XP with Office 2003. Why? Because it works and they know every nook, cranny and problem. When they get to that level of knowledge for Vista or (more likely) Windows 7, then they will think about deploying it.

If my company *relied* on Gmail, I'd want an SLA. It's that simple. If they won't provide one, then I wouldn't use them. And if your company is relying on Gmail *today* without an SLA, you're an idiot, pure and simple, or your needs are very rudimentary. As such, Gmail will not be taken seriously in an enterprise environment until that SLA exists and is to the satisfaction of both sides - it doesn't matter if they call it Beta, Alpha, or Zebedee. But when it does become available with a suitable SLA, what would I rather use for any company I work for? A webmail that's had five years of extremely public testing with millions or users, or something knocked off the back of Squirrelmail and stuck into an appliance hosted in some cheap "webmail" company's racks that gets a few customers a year? There are other, much more insurmountable problems with using Gmail for business than the name - SLA's, contracts, privacy and legal issues. All of those cost Gmail a million times more business customers than that magic word "Beta".

Re:Tarnished reputation (2, Interesting)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 5 years ago | (#28123559)

The thing is that Google DOES sell a few SKUs of Google Apps to individuals and enterprises, and they do promise an SLA [google.com] of 99.9% uptime which they have failed to deliver during about 1/3 of all the months it's been available.

Re:Tarnished reputation (1)

Dudibob (1556875) | more than 5 years ago | (#28123349)

Perhaps because Google still doesn't believe it's 'ready' yet? Google are forever changing stuff on all their products

Re:Tarnished reputation (1)

ubersoldat2k7 (1557119) | more than 5 years ago | (#28123603)

You know, maybe they just forgot about it.
Today @ Google's Offices:
CEO: Wait! Are you telling me gmail is still on beta?
SOG: ehm... yes, we totally forgot about it with all this android, docs, SoC and stuff all around us.

Re:Tarnished reputation (1)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 5 years ago | (#28124167)

"How can Google be taken seriously in an enterprise environment if their most stable and successful offshoot project takes 5 years to come out of beta?"

Plenty of companies and institutions have switched from running their own mail infrastructure over to the commercial version of GMail. I can't tell you what a relief it was to get to shut down our mail server, to lock down the inbound ports, to stop having to be an admin for a mail server, and to stop having to deal with SPAM or with the gigantic imap folders that accumulate.

Our GMail interface is branded with our company name, and doesn't say anything about it being beta.

Not ready for release (3, Funny)

Hatta (162192) | more than 5 years ago | (#28122907)

They're just moving it to Gamma.

What comes after beta? (3, Funny)

chinton (151403) | more than 5 years ago | (#28122957)

GMail -- RC1

In other news... (1)

JCWDenton (851047) | more than 5 years ago | (#28122985)

Google introduces 'charlie' status for online services. More at 11.

Re:In other news... (1)

Hyppy (74366) | more than 5 years ago | (#28124003)

It would be Gamma.

Re:In other news... (2, Informative)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 5 years ago | (#28124177)

Correct. Charlie follows Bravo.

What GMail really needs... (5, Funny)

castironpigeon (1056188) | more than 5 years ago | (#28123049)

...is one of those early 90s construction signs.

Re:What GMail really needs... (1)

Spatial (1235392) | more than 5 years ago | (#28123439)

Don't forget the spinning 'Email' GIF. Preferably with the word coming out of an envelope, or on fire.

Give us folders. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28123065)

Take the beta tag off once they give us folders for email.

NBD (2, Insightful)

NES HQ (1558029) | more than 5 years ago | (#28123067)

Sorry, but this is not a real big deal outside of communities like /. Beta is just another one of 'those fancy tech terms' for most folks, so regardless of whether or not Gmail is beta or not in beta millions of people will still use it as their primary mail service.

not a good idea (1)

perryizgr8 (1370173) | more than 5 years ago | (#28123107)

i know gmail works quite well. but sometimes in firefox, when you click forward the thing gets stuck at 'loading rich text'. this happens at random and also on new ubuntu, opensuse installs. also, google calendar gets stuck sometimes on some firefox installs. seems to me the 'beta' tag is there for a reason.

That means something? (1)

TheMightyFuzzball (1500683) | more than 5 years ago | (#28123185)

I thought that was just its name...

Weird to use... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28123249)

Maybe I'm just dumb, but I can't really figure out how to use it. Just subscribed to the google android group and have now 150 android messages in my inbox. What I want is a filter that shows only the messages in the inbox that DON'T have anything to do with android. So I created a filter that applies an Android label to all of them, but what should I do from there on? I can't even archive them, because I did not read them yet.

- Where's the "show unlabeled messages" button?
- Why can't I create views? E.g. "show messages that have the label (Family or Important) and not Boring.

This idea with adding labels to messages sounded like such a great idea, but I still haven't figured out how to use them effectively. If it is actually possible... (Also, the help sucks. Or just explains the limited functionality perfectly...)

Re:Weird to use... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28123419)

What I want is a filter that shows only the messages in the inbox that DON'T have anything to do with android. So I created a filter that applies an Android label to all of them, but what should I do from there on? I can't even archive them, because I did not read them yet.

Yes, you do just that, check "Skip the Inbox (Archive it)" in the filter setup. "Archiving" doesn't mean "mark as read".

Some background and Google's previous explanation (3, Informative)

netbuzz (955038) | more than 5 years ago | (#28123269)

At last count (last fall) almost half of Google apps were labeled beta, so it's not just a few they're talking about. At that time, Google offered a convoluted explanation for the practice that included: "We believe beta has a different meaning when applied to applications on the Web, where people expect continual improvements in a product." More here:

http://www.networkworld.com/community/node/33131 [networkworld.com]

Re:Some background and Google's previous explanati (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28123477)

Does that mean there won't be any more improvements on gmail? That they are moving on to other things? Or will they start charging now?

How to get Google off of beta (1)

Bruiser80 (1179083) | more than 5 years ago | (#28123331)

Step 1: Stop answering bug reports
Step 2: Use GIMP to remove "beta" from all header pics
Step 3: ????
Step 4: Profit!

gmail is pretty damn solid -- docs has problems (4, Interesting)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 5 years ago | (#28123355)

Docs has been having problems recently with syncing. The biggest caveat of the whole cloud concept is "What do you do if you lose your connection to the cloud?" (Ok, one of the big caveats. The other is not having access to your data. If Microsoft went under tomorrow, your SQL Server won't disappear. Office will still run on the desktop. If a cloud company goes under, you may have a backup of the data from the app but who will be hosting it? They had code escrow back in the day, the company that wrote your app goes under, the source code is held in escrow and will be released to you at that time. You can hire people to perform maintenance.) Really, big business has seen this problem for decades. When offices are connected to centralized servers over frame relay and there's nothing at the remote locations but dumb terminals, losing the connection leaves you just as dead in the water as losing your internet today. Google's answer was the local cache. It works great for gmail, I can see them saying it's no longer beta.

The problem I've encountered with docs is that "docs list" window as they call it is having trouble syncing. You create a document on one computer, it should be visible on the other within a few minutes. You can see it if you do a page refresh. The problem is the local copy doesn't sync automatically anymore. You can make that happen by syncing manually or by opening the file up while connected to the net -- it will display the old version and then flash over to the new one as it downloads.

The problem arises when you think you're synced up and open an older document and start working on it. You last worked on it on Computer A yesterday. Computer B's copy is from four days ago. If you're away from a net connection when you open it on Computer B, you won't get a refresh and the automatic refresh you thought already happened didn't. So when you get back home you fire up Computer B so you can make sure it syncs back to the cloud, it will now try to reconcile two different versions. If you were working in separate parts of the document, you might get lucky. if any of your changes were made to the same paragraph, last edit wins.

These sorts of problems will be esoteric to the typical end user. I can see what's going on because I'm geeky. The end user is just going to get upset because something that "just works" no longer does.

You can't really complain about getting this kind of functionality for free but people will really start bitching if they have to pay for it.

Re:gmail is pretty damn solid -- docs has problems (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#28124043)

Honestly, if your documents are that important to you, you owe it to yourself (and any clients) to work on them locally. IMO the best thing about Google Docs is Gmail integration. It's still useful to a whole class of user which doesn't really own a computer; maybe they have a fancy cellphone or something.

...speaking of beta prodcts... (1)

DewDude (537374) | more than 5 years ago | (#28123403)

anyone remember how ridiculously long ICQ was in "beta"? I think it spanned the enture duration it was created till AOL bought out Mirablis.

Test data (4, Funny)

CopaceticOpus (965603) | more than 5 years ago | (#28123553)

If it's really a beta product, they should dump all the user data before they take it to production. After all, it is just test data. No one in their right mind would be using a beta product as their primary email provider, right?

Re:Test data (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28123827)

Tons of people use the beta of Windows 7 and the RC of Windows 7. Imagine what it would be like if Microsoft told you they're going to dump all of it. The /. crowd would be up in arms over it.

the bugs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28123579)

When you read an e-mail with a pdf sometimes it takes a while to scan for viruses and when the scan ends it does not show the message that the scan was complete.

BR,
FR

So when (1)

Exitar (809068) | more than 5 years ago | (#28123669)

all the companies that put "Beta" after the name of their services to look as cool as Google will remove it?

Release candidate 1 (1)

gravis777 (123605) | more than 5 years ago | (#28123679)

Yay! Finally we are in the release candidate stage! Another 5 years we may see ver 0.1 build 3!

Btw, iPhone support on slashdot sucks! My 5th time trying to post this comment

The end all (1)

JustOK (667959) | more than 5 years ago | (#28123795)

This is just a ploy to prevent us from talking about Google Omega products. Do no evil, indeed. Perfect evil is indistinguishable from Perfect Good. We all know that their Omega products are perfectly ok and nothing to worry about

The beta tag does detour businesses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28124013)

At my work (a public school) we have a strict policy on beta software: we donâ(TM)t use beta software. When it came time to choose between Microsoft and Google, we had to go with M$ since Google was still using the Beta tag, albeit we preferred Google, the policy was put there to protect (and punish) the end users.

Bug Google Redefined Online Beta a Year ago. (1)

IgnitusBoyone (840214) | more than 5 years ago | (#28124097)

I don't understand this article. I might of missed it, but from my reading the article clearly has not done is background checking. The article clearly mentions that chrome is out of beta, but gmail which is five years old is not, but I did not see it point out that one is a local application but gmail, and docs are online applications. A year ago slashdot posted an article on Google's view of online beta's. The basic view was that since online applications change at a higher rate to traditional applications they are never out of the beta phase and always capable of testing new content. I admit the company may need to come up with a new word to describe such a view like transitional, but I do not believe its entirely wrong. http://tech.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/09/25/1235216&from=rss [slashdot.org] http://www.networkworld.com/community/node/33131 [networkworld.com] Given this view its only natural that Chrome go through traditional version why gmail and other services do not. These articles also always fail to mention labs.google.com which is really where the company keeps its Alpha and Beta releases before they want them to go entirely public along with the very extended invitational phase that gmail went through.

Marketing Ploy (3, Insightful)

pz (113803) | more than 5 years ago | (#28124317)

Leaving beta as a part of the name of a given service well beyond the normal limit was a marketing ploy. It generated lots of press and ardent discussion. The tact has run its course. They're removing it as another marketing ploy. That will generate another wave of press and ardent discussion. Ho hum.

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