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GMail Leaves Beta After Five Years

Gordon Kelly


GMail Leaves Beta After Five Years

I suppose it had to happen someday...

After five years and three months Gmail has finally tossed the beta plates and joined the ranks of grown up v1.0 software. Joining Gmail will be Calendar, Docs and Google Talk (yes, they were all beta services too!).

Happily Google has demonstrated a fine sense of humour with the announcement explaining:

"Some people thought that once we opened sign-ups, Gmail should have come out of beta. Others said that once we integrated chat, developed new anti-spam technology, expanded to 53 languages, shipped a mobile app, added group chat, launched an iPhone UI, added a vacation autoresponder, launched Gmail Labs, subsequently modified the vacation autoresponder with a Gmail Lab, launched 48 other Labs, launched video chat, enabled open protocols and APIs (POP, auto-forwarding, IMAP, and the Contacts Data API), let you POP mail in from other accounts, added a delete button, rearchitected our entire javascript code base, and added key functionality to get large companies, startups, universities, and many other organizations (in addition to Google itself) running on Gmail, we should have come out of beta... The end result (many visible and invisible changes later) is that today, beta is a thing of the past. Not just for Gmail, but for all of Google Apps - Gmail, Calendar, Docs, and Talk."

For those traumatised by the removal of the Beta label Google has also added 'Back to Beta' - a Google Labs feature which simply sticks the 'Beta' tag back onto your Gmail logo.

Yes, sometimes change can be hard to accept...!


Google Blog Post


July 8, 2009, 5:23 am

Sometimes I just wanna give Google a big nerdy hug :).


July 8, 2009, 5:42 am

no way! about time but was kind of thinking it'd never happen.


July 8, 2009, 6:15 am

I have been using Gmail since the beta first started and its nice to see the training wheels have finally come off. Its such a great service - i try and convert people from hotmail all the time, but microsoft will not let you forward emails from a hotmail account to a Gmail one. :(

Hopefully the ditching of the Beta tag doesn't mean they are going to start implementing a fee for the service though!


July 8, 2009, 6:28 am

@Kaben - oh yes you can import contacts and email from Hotmail, Yahoo, etc. Check the very last paragraph on this story ;)


Keep on the conversions. I agree with you, at the present time there is nothing to touch Gmail. I shed a tear for those still on Outlook.


July 8, 2009, 1:13 pm

The Beta tag never worried me for it has simply been the best email service I have ever used. With support for multiple accounts, it has been a perfect partner at work and in my private life for many years. Offline on my laptop for dealing with my emails whilst on trains etc. was the icing on the cake. I cannot imagine myself using anything else. Outlook has simply become a calendar/tasks/contacts repository - next project is to use Google for that as well.

Hamish Campbell

July 8, 2009, 2:11 pm

I've just created an account, but can't really see the point moving from yahoo....

Somebody give me a reason or two, what am I missing?


July 8, 2009, 2:29 pm


Use it and you will see.

Going from Yahoo to Gmail is like going from a clapped out 1987 Vauxhall Astra to a brand spanking new BMW M5.


July 8, 2009, 2:46 pm


threaded conversations


spam filters

archive - never delete

elwood p

July 8, 2009, 2:48 pm

Slightly off topic I know, But anyone else seen this -



July 8, 2009, 3:06 pm


Yep, knew about this a year ago. Interesting times ahead...

Alistair B

July 8, 2009, 3:49 pm

I had the issue of not being able to automatically forward my mail from hotmail to gmail (Not just importing your mail which is completely different). Hotmail, understandably, does not want you to be able to do this so blocks you from automatically forwarding your mail unless it is to another hotmail address or to a custom domain. But I searched on the internet and found a workaround. I now have two hotmail addresses, a .co.uk and a .com address both automatically forwarding to my gmail account. You can also send mail, from within Gmail, as though it were your hotmail address (after authenticating it within Hotmail). I will never go back! :-D


Hope it works for anyone interested, it seems a long-winded way of doing things but it definitely works.


July 8, 2009, 4:05 pm


Yeah saw that - interesting, an OS built round a browser. Hmm, wonder what the EU will make of that. Will it come bundled with Firefox and IE? LOL


July 8, 2009, 4:16 pm

I can confirm that the above 'solution' posted by Alistar DOES NOT work :/

Hamish Campbell

July 8, 2009, 4:26 pm

well yahoo has spam filters which seem pretty effective, search is there and no deletions i've ever noticed.

Threaded conversations is a good idea.

I guess if I had a smartphone it would link in better.


July 8, 2009, 4:49 pm

@Gordon Spare me the hanky it's ONLY an email service I use hotmail too. I use Gmail to forward to outlook to avoid paying for it. I have never been blown away by pop3 mail delivery. Next you will be telling me chrome OS blows away windows in a little fluffy cloud LOL

Alistair B

July 8, 2009, 5:59 pm


Well it works for me. I've had my mail auto-forwarding from Hotmail to Gmail for about a year now using this exact same method. I wouldn't suggest a 'solution" unless it was genuine. Why would I waste my time otherwise? Just to misdirect people?


July 8, 2009, 6:54 pm

@hank - hotmail blows chunks, as does Outlook. We'll see on Chrome OS, but it certainly seems more in touch with the future than the Windows model despite my love of Windows 7. Writing up a piece on it as we speak.


July 8, 2009, 7:56 pm


Outlook is so bad its funny!


July 8, 2009, 8:16 pm


Hotmail only blows on subscription it's a web based email client as good as Gmail. When Ms drop this I think Gmail will find it's outlook less bright.

@Gordon @Steve

Outlook is only an email client and it works perfect for me. I have never had a comedy out it, Steve maybe you should try the TV or am I lacking GSOH.


July 8, 2009, 8:22 pm

I just logged back into my gmail to see what I was missing and to be honest it wasn't much. It still seems so 90's webmail to me and I prefer the modern Yahoo webmail(not the Classic interface) over gmail apart from Yahoo's spam filter still isn't very good. Hotmail is just plain rubbish. So that just leaves GMX Email which is miles ahead of the big three. http://news.softpedia.com/n...



July 9, 2009, 7:15 am

@deecee - needs to work offline.


July 9, 2009, 3:26 pm

@ Gordon Why? How often are you on a PC that isn't net connected?


July 9, 2009, 7:42 pm

I tried, but I couldn't handle it. Back to beta for me. :)

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