Danny wrote about Google's many betas a couple of weeks ago. It was also discussed at the Google's Analyst Day on Wednesday. During the event Larry Page said that a beta could go for as long as five years.
Today, News.com has posted the story, A long winding road out of beta with more from Larry Page.
"It's kind of an arbitrary thing," Page said. "We could take beta off all of our products tomorrow, and we wouldn't actually have accomplished anything...If it's on there for five years because we think we're going to make major changes for five years, that's fine. It's really a messaging and branding thing."In other words Larry, the term beta really doesn't mean anything?
Actually, it means plenty to Google. Having the term beta attached to many of their services for extended periods of time has marketing and pr value. Huh? By using just a single word Google can tell users, the press, and anyone else who is interested, that of course problems with a service might and will likely exist. Why? Because it's just a beta release. It's a simple, clean (at least up to this point), and easy way to deflect or soften negative attention that a service might receive. More brilliant marketing from Google.