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Gmail says bye-bye to "beta"

Google

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It took more than five years, but Google has finally torn the "beta" label from its popular Gmail Web e-mail service.

But what's in a label? In a blog post Tuesday morning, Gmail Product Director Keith Coleman announced the name change – effective across all Google Apps sites: Docs, Talk, Calendar, and Gmail. Coleman suggested that perhaps the traditional meaning of "beta" no longer applied to Web applications, particularly those, like Gmail, that have had such significant development and wide adoption.

Who would pay for "beta"?

Utility and popularity aren't the only reasons the "beta" tag is gone. "Many of the companies that have looked in depth at the apps have seen that they are feature complete," Rajen Sheth, a Google senior product manager, told the AP. "But there is a kind of perception thing, and in many cases that stops companies in their tracks from even looking at it."

The name change may be symbolic, but Google believes strongly enough that it will make a business difference to make the move.

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