Most of were beginning to believe that Google applications were to be tagged as "beta" forever. Today, Google (news, site) has surprised us by taking the Beta tag off of Google Apps, because they say it reached their "high bar for taking products out of beta". Not quite sure what that high bar is, but there are probably a few enterprises out there glad to see the beta tag gone.
Google Apps has worn the beta tag for the two years it has been in existence, Gmail for five years. But, as Google says, what they consider a beta application doesn't really fit the traditional idea that most of us understand a beta application to be.
To most, beta means it's not ready for production level consumption. This has not been the case for Google Apps. That has been proven with the ever increasing number of enterprises who have adopted either Gmail or Google Apps, or both, as their productivity tools of choice. And from the beginning Google has also provided 24/7 support and offered service level agreements for Google Apps.
What's in a name. A Google Beta by any other name, will work the same. So says Google. The beta tag may be gone from Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs and Google Talk -- enterprise and consumer -- but that's not going to stop Google from enhancing and improving these tools.
They just seem to have made a few nervous enterprises happier. After all, it must be kind of scary to convince management to invest in a production level solution that has "Beta" in its name.