GMail Leaves Beta After Five Years

Accompanied by Calendar, Docs and Google Talk.

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

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