The eternal beta…

Slashdot has a story from the Wall Street Journal online about why beta’s last so long. Google News’ beta, Microsoft’s Antispyware beta are both mentioned. This has become a new way of marketing software it seems, beta has gone from being considered pre-release/buggy software to… oooo new shiny software. However, with the beta is the disclaimer of liabilities of polished release software. If something goes wrong, “oh it’s just in beta anyway…”

There are other motivations though. For google News, I heard the dilemma is along the lines of… if it goes to final and they smack google ads all over it, won’t the news services start rebelling and want a piece of the pie (or to be taken off the feed summary?)

Of course, in some ways you could argue that some software that has seen full, official release SHOULD have still been in beta. So for some, it’s just a good way to get a really big userbase to test and help you refine the product.

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