Today, Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs and GTalk had their beta labels removed.
Gmail, in particular, has been operating in beta mode for a considerable amount of time—it launched in 2004—so it seems Google finally feels ready to release it officially into the wild…?
The beta label clearly doesn’t mean as much as it used to, since there was no big announcement to speak of when the apps switched over from their former mode. They all look and behave the same way they did yesterday, as far as I can tell.
However, there are changes, and they’re aimed specifically at businesses. Google wants their offerings to be viewed as legitimate competitors to Microsoft et al. It’s understandable that no matter how reliable a service may seem, the beta label would still keep many companies from utilizing it on a professional level. Again, Gmail is a good example.
Gmail now has offline access to mail and calendars, among other new features. There’s better contact management for Google Apps and better compatibility with Microsoft Outlook.
Check out the apps for yourself:
It was a quiet switch, but welcome to life beyond beta, Google Apps!
P.S. If you really miss it, Google has provided a way for Google Labs users to re-enable the beta label under Settings!