It took a little over a year, but The day has finally come: Google is removing the beta label from the entire Google Apps suite of products today, including Gmail, Calendar, Docs and Talk. Google hopes today’s move will eradicate the stigma some companies have harbored towards using its Apps products, thus increasing the likelihood they will buy Apps subscriptions.
Google has been steadily innovating its Apps product since it first launched for business customers in February 2007, with more than 50 new features added to the Apps suite in 2009 alone, such as the ability to sync Apps with Microsoft Outlook. While large companies such as Genentech and Fairchild Semiconductor have signed up for Apps subscriptions, Google said others were deterred from doing so because of the beta label tied to the suite of products. Unlike Google Apps, the company’s Chrome browser left beta status in less than a year.
“For a lot of customers [the beta label] was a blocker,” said Google Apps Senior Product Manager Raj Sheth. With Apps’ move out of beta, Sheth believes companies will take a closer look at the package.
Google also plans to introduce new Apps features for its business customers in the coming weeks, including one that lets company IT administrators set policies on when company emails should be purged and another that allows administrative assistants to view and send emails on behalf of another person. Google is also introducing a feature that replicates and stores company data on multiple Google data centers for safekeeping in the case of a system crash.