Friday, 26 September 2008

Google changed the definition of beta

Google changed the definition of beta just like it has done for many other things. From the beginning it has become a centre of innovation in software. Google has shown the way to capture the market when open source software was gaining momentum. Google uses a nice business strategy with a place for open source in it. It is interesting to note that Google supports Firefox, yet launches its own Chrome browser.

I have been critical of the the incorrect use of 'beta' for about two years now, but mostly offline. However, recently I found a discussion at Slashdot supporting my ideas. That inspired me to write this blog. I like the line about getting out of jail for free.

'Beta' means it may change without warning. Well then a number of Google applications tell us at the first page that they are likely to change without warning and we are supposed to tread ahead at our own risk. However, they do it with flair: the 'beta' tags usually blend nicely with the background. Thereby, most of the users become mere beta testers for Google - a novel way to get intelligent testers at a large scale, as required for web applications.