You know it's about time I write about a concern I have with Google and some of the services they provide. Today's rant is on Gmail.
Google first introduced Gmail back in March of 2004 to 1,000 people and was available by invitation only. Gmail touted some pretty impressive features which included a total of 1 GB of storage used for email (currently they offer almost 2.8 GB) and promised to make searching through your email easier. All of this was and still is absolutely free. Back then other popular email providers were allowing for anywhere from 10 MB to 100 MBs. Sure you could get more space but you would have to shell out some cash for it. Other email providers eventually raised their limit to compete with Gmail and the world is a better place for it…well except now I have way too much email saved up.
My issue with Gmail is that this service (along with many others) is still to this date in BETA!!! It has almost been 3 years and this product has not been lifted to Production status. The core functions have been working flawlessly for sometime so it troubles me that it is still in beta. Is Google afraid of something or are there issues behind the scenes that Google is hiding behind the interface? If there is one thing that bugs me it is products that never move from beta.
Google seems to be trying to tie their products together into an online application suite that will deliver a fatal blow to Microsoft. For what it's worth I think they are doing a good job providing these services online but they will never be taken seriously in the enterprise if they can't mature a product through some type of lifecycle. This is why Microsoft is winning and will continue to win in the enterprise.
As of today Google finally opened Gmail up to the public so the masses could enjoy the benefits of it. I wonder how other companies would be looked at if they had a product stuck in beta for 35 months and allowed anyone to use it but provide limited support. For all the products Google has their support options are limited. Good luck ever talking to anyone that supports a product at Google. You're lucky to find a product that provides more than an online FAQ page.
I'm not a Gmail hater, in fact I use Gmail as my primary personal email. I have to give credit where credit is due and Google's Gmail did raise the bar when it came to storage space and searching capability. I also love the conversation based view. I just wish Google and all it might, could pull this product out of Beta.
I welcome your comments.