Home > Uncategorized > Perpetual BETA – Gmail

Perpetual BETA – Gmail


The aim of Perpetual Beta is that you could get early feedback from users and critics, measure the level of excitement about the idea and also establish a footprint in a rapidly growing market. I could say it is related to  Raymond’s “Release Early, Release Often”, in which Raymond argues for rapid iterative software development with a focus  on listening to customer feedback after each iteration.

In the Web 2.0 world, beta testing is almost the only type of testing done, and some organizations claim it is never finished while in traditional software engineering, beta testing is about to test by customers of the software once it has passed the entire internal test in the development organization and it is almost ready for final release.

Gmail is electronic mail service that has been available since 2004.It is a good example for perpetual beta as it has gone through at least a dozen releases, all about fixing bugs and/or adding new features. These releases are mostly transparent to users, who at most see a little notice at the bottom of their screen in notifying them of the new features. Of course, they keep the ‘BETA’ word part of their logo on every screen serves as a reminder of Gmail’s status (it is not the final version)

The following video gives us an overview for Gmail application

According to Softpedia,  people love Gmail because:

  • Less spam
  • More storage
  • Gmail chat
  • Mobile access

If you use Gmail…Are you agree with that? What do you use Gmail?

I could concluded that perpetual is not a specific technology, it is a process.  Perpetual beta is a good way to solicit user feedback but the term contains negative connotations for experienced software developers, managers, and users alike, and so should be used with caution if the relevant organization wants to cross the chasm and attract mainstream customers rather than only early adopters.

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. May 16, 2011 at 3:10 am

    I do agree there is less spam. I also like it because it looks more professional

  2. May 16, 2011 at 3:20 am

    I use gmail or google apps everyday and main reasons are, less spam, more storage, clean interface and through the apps service, I can use a custom domain.

    Its a free way to host a profession looking email service.

  3. May 16, 2011 at 3:54 am

    I use gmail everyday as well, mainly for the clean interface and the ability to skin it to make it more appealing, the lack of spam is welcome to. Of course the fact that it isnt a MS product helps its case to 😉

    I agree that software doesnt have a singular beta period but never manages to escape the realm of beta. As developers add features in smaller intervals without the thorough testing that was once the case with application development. Its a loop that continues for the life of the product.

  4. Fabi
    May 16, 2011 at 4:48 am

    Uhmm actually, i think gmail is really good, i use it everyday, i could say that it is indeed easier sometimes than hotmail. However both of them are really good.

  5. Gustavo
    May 16, 2011 at 4:49 am

    Since Scrum is so successful in project management, why not bring it to web development as well, hey?
    That’s possibly where the idea of perpetual beta came from…
    I honestly cannot see anything that could come out wrong from this, as long as the functionality testing (as in, looking for bugs) is done before the releases. There’s no one better to perform user-experience testing than the users themselves.

  6. May 16, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    I personally use Gmail because of its flexibility to be used anywhere in the world and easy access via iPhone =]

    please comment back at nicholasburge.com.au/blog

  7. May 16, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    Hotmail seems to be a widely used email for many of us. How would you convince an avid-user for hotmail to switch to gmail for its usage?

  8. May 18, 2011 at 1:04 am

    Hi, Gmail is a fantastic web mail. I think Gmail is the first webmail that break through the webmail 1.0. By using Gmail (Webmail 2.0), users can gain lots of benefits, such as clean interface, heap of space, chat feature, buzz(for sharing online stuffs), and mobile access. Moreover, Gmail is linked to other online services(Calendar, Blog, Photos, Documents) as well. It is a one stop services which make lots of convenience in your life. Other mail services like hotmail or yahoo tried to imitate Gmail but they couldn’t because Gmail has done a great job in collective intelligence. I am wondering what is the next coming feature of Gmail. Which is the best webmail services in the world (Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo)?

    • May 18, 2011 at 1:11 am

      I used Hotmail since I was 5 year old!!!… I believe hotmail is a great webmail service however now I am an university student I belive Gmail is better than hotmail….The main reason of it is because it helps me to organize the million email I get everyday…Also I believe Gmail is a great tool as it is based on what user really want…I could say the most feature of it are from user feedback/comments…Gmail is like putting together what user want in a webmail service!!!…..

      what is your point of view??? which one do you use most??

  9. May 18, 2011 at 1:37 am

    I agree with you(paola). In my opinion, Gmail is better than any webmails. Due to, it came later hotmail and yahoo(launched early 1990s), by the way hotmail&yahoo gained millions of users. As a result, most hotmail/yahoo users sticked with their webmail provider because it is such a hard thing to move all of mails to another. On the other hand, Gmail have a lots of marketing in new webmail users.

    (For me,I spend more time on my hotmail account because most of my friends and family members are using hotmail.)

  10. empecee
    May 18, 2011 at 2:15 am

    i have a gmail account but i only use it a depository for faceboot notifications. So from my perspective it’s all spam. But that’s probably not what you ment…

  11. May 18, 2011 at 3:15 am

    Great post! Thanks for linking me to it.
    I agree that the beta label is used efficiently by Gmail to show users that the product is still under development and possibly even open to user input/recommendations. I still do believe however, that some applications may exploit the ‘BETA’ label as an excuse for a poorly developed product. Although I haven’t heard many cases of this, it would not surprise me due to the misrepresentation of the label from the media.

    • May 18, 2011 at 7:08 am

      I def agree with you about developer using ‘BETA’ label as an excuse for a poorly developed product….
      No everyone think on the same way…. Some user may think that using a product that is not finish yet and it is still under development are not good enough. On the other hand, some other user could prefer it as it has the chance to be free and they still can make it as they want it to be (by sending feedback)….

      Overall, all depend on the user and what they want from the application/tool….

  12. May 18, 2011 at 7:44 am

    Totally agree on the” “BETA” abel as an excuse for a poorly developed product… “…
    This term BETA means that they can do and change whatever they want along the way on developing the product. But in another way its also good that they put “BETA”, which notify new users that its not stable yet and might have errors or crashes might happen. Really depends on personal perspective. Great post and Great Discussion here… :> Cheers Steve…

  13. May 18, 2011 at 11:58 am

    I think Gmail/google is almost at the top of web 2.0. I also introduced Gmail as the example of this pattern, because I can’t help reminding of Gmail Beta at first.

  14. May 18, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    I been using hotmail for almost 7 years, I think the day they started it, when I started using Gmail its true that the spam is les, more storge and gmail chat but none of these features I liked the most, the most feature i like that I couldn’t find it on other Email services is the speed of Gmail. browsing and sending emails is fast which one of my important features that I am looking for in any Email service.

    Great post really enjoyed reading it ^^.

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