Why Gmail is Still a Beta

If you tried to access your Gmail account between the times of 11:30 PM and 3:00 AM MST (9:30 AM to 12:00 PM GMT), you will have found that you couldn’t. The reason was that Gmail had an “outage“.

I find instances like these to be the bane of Gmail. I’m a huge Google fan, but cases like this are unacceptable. Wasn’t it just a couple of weeks ago that Google was tagging every site as “malicious?” Google is a huge player internationally, but they need to work on quality control.

The fact that Gmail is still a “beta” really disturbs me. You’d think that if you are one of the world’s leading email companies, you might move out of beta, perhaps. I suppose the reasons involve lawsuits, reliability requirements, etc. But if you want to play with the big boys, it’s time to start acting like them.

8 Responses to Why Gmail is Still a Beta

  1. Ray says:

    Actually the “beta” meme is everywhere. Ever since the “Web 2.0” craze, everything has to be a beta. In my opinion, it’s just an excuse for the occasional bugs that pop up. For its service, Google has excellent quality control; and remember they do all of this for free on the client side.

    Or you could switch to a paid option. 🙂

  2. Jack says:


    I was only mentioning that Gmail is one of the world’s largest email providers, not that they have bad service on a day to day basis. They have a great product.

    As far as a paid option goes…nah :-p

  3. Steve says:

    I think it’s a great idea to keep a product in “beta” for as long as possible. They are able to instantly push out new features, instead of having to work around a “finished product.”

    I don’t mind the fact that they are a beta nearly as much as much as I mind all the tracking they are doing on my web activities. Just look at the difference in search results between when you are logged into Google vs. when you aren’t. (not that noticeable usually) Google is a commercial company, and they make money on trends and tracking the trends of what people do. (that’s more worrisome to me than the word “beta”)

  4. Ray says:

    @Jack: Yeah I was just pointing out that we’re not paying anything for it. But you’re spot on. They shouldn’t be having those downtime issues if they’re going to offer a service of their magnitude.

    @Steve: Yes I have noticed the tracking, and when you think about it they can see your email, look at your search results, read up analysis on your website, read your blog (blogger), look into your files (Desktop)… Of course, we trust that they stick to their “do no evil” motto. 😛

  5. Anonymous says:

    Goose, Geese.
    Moose and Meese!

  6. Tito says:

    @Steve: I agree that keeping a product in a beta for as long as is feasible, the labs feature in Gmail is a great way to introduce new trends into the best email provider out there, but if they are one of the largest, and for good reasons, they need to be a little more thorough in their quality control.
    The fact that they were down isn’t as bothersome as the length of time they were out. (i.e. 2.5 Hours) they should have better reaction time to issues like that.
    Just my thoughts on Gmail’s little issue.


    P.S. I love Gmail and I would never switch to anything else, barring of course, they start charging :p, I am just simply stating that they are huge, google in general, that their email should be at least perfectly reliable.

  7. Interesting…I have had Gmail acting strange on me lately..crashing frequently. I thought it was my computer!


    @ Tito – agreed with your P.S. I’ve tried some other email hosts..including yahoo, aol, and myedl..but find Gmail to still be the best!

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