Garett Rogers at Googling Google covers Google’s "Trusted Tester Program," a
preexisting invite-only program that now appears to have gained a formal FAQ
left open to public view.
The program lets friends and family of Google employees test new software. The select few login here to access
programs. More helpful to anyone is the Google Trusted Tester Program FAQ,
which explains the program in more detail. Somewhat amusingly, those in the
program aren’t even allowed to discuss that it exists despite the fact that the
FAQ has been left open to public viewing.
Dirson’s blog had
mention of this program back last August, but no FAQ was apparently posted
then. Google’s also long allowed friends and family of Googlers to test beta
software. Google Desktop, for example, went out for friends and family testing
in February 2004, as covered in the SEW members
of the Google Desktop launch article:
As for the Google Desktop project, it has been in development for the past
year, Google said. The first testing version went out to some within Google in
February. Further versions followed, with a release candidate sent to 2,000
Google employees and trusted friends and family.