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Non-beta Google betas may lose beta tags

'They're not betas. We just call them that'

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Google I/O Five years after its public debut, Gmail is still "in beta." But Google is willing to bring the curtain down on this long-running online farce. Or maybe not. Its decision to eliminate meaningless beta tags is still in beta.

Speaking at its annual developer conference Wednesday, the company said that its endless beta posturing is "a minor annoyance and something you’ll see addressed in the not-too-distant future." But Google didn't actually say it would remove the beta tags from Gmail and other widely-used online apps, including Google Docs and Spreadsheets and Google Calendar.

"We’re going to deal with that very soon. We’re going to figure out a way to fix that," said Google Docs product manager Jonathan Rochelle, according to IDG News Service.

Rochelle delivered his still-in-beta beta stance after an industry analyst said that Google's ongoing online pretension was annoying business users. Google product management director Matt Glotzbach pointed out that Google Apps Premier Edition, the for-pay version of its online application suite, does not carry a beta tag.

But he admitted that apps within the suite do - despite years spent on the public web.

And it seems Google is well aware that its beta tags are meaningless. "The term ‘beta’ as we know it in the software industry and the way it’s being used by Google is not really the same type of use," Rochelle said. "We’re selling these products, and we don’t treat them internally like they’re a beta."

And yet they still call them betas.

They still call them betas because they have always called them betas. "It’s almost traditional," Rochelle said.

Yes, he said almost. Google likes being noncommittal. ®

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