Google’s Gmail says bye-bye beta

July 7, 2009

The test is finally over.

Five years after Google released Gmail, its Web email product, the company said the product is officially out of beta.

The change is part of a broader move that Google announced on Tuesday involving Google Apps, the company’s suite of online software products that includes Google Docs and Google Calendar, among others.

While many people are familiar with the free, consumer version of Gmail, Google also sells an enterprise-grade version of Gmail and the other applications to businesses for $50 per user.

The beta label, which tech companies typically use to denote a prototype of a product in the public testing stage, was something of a turn-off to certain potential customers, said Google Senior Product Manager Rajen Sheth.

“They would look at it, see it’s a beta product and stop considering it as a result of that,” Sheth said.

So what’s changed in Gmail and other apps to make them finally ready for prime time?

According to Sheth, Google has addressed various issues requested by corporations, including offline support, blackberry support and Outlook synching.

And Google said on Tuesday it was introducing a couple more tricks designed to please corporate customers, including automatic email purging features and data replication to keep the service running in the event of a network outage.

Google already has 1.75 million business customers for Google Apps – including chipmaker Fairchild Semiconductor, which Google announced as a new customer on Tuesday – and the software contributes “hundreds of millions” of dollars to Google’s annual revenue.

Now the Internet company hopes to show what it can do without the stigma of a beta label.

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Waiting for google talk to leave beta label.

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