WSJ.com - For Some Technology Companies, 'Beta' Becomes a Long-Term Label: "King of Beta
Google releases many of its applications to the public with the beta label, and also keeps many of them in beta for a long time. Critics say the format gives Google an excuse to avoid responsibility for any flaws.
Google keeps a product in beta if it has not implemented all the features it wants to add, and 'as long as there are some quality improvements we want to make,' said Marissa Mayer, vice president of product development. Beta also allows Google 'to launch products sooner,' she said.
Google News has been in beta since 2002 because 'there are issues around quality and the ability to find' particular content, said Ms. Mayer. The site, which features headlines and summaries of articles from scores of news organizations, may be revised to include information published on blogs, she said."