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For beta or for worse II

11 Dec 2004 by Jason Fried

On May 19th I wrote about how a bunch of sites were running in perpetual beta. Wired even picked up on it. Let’s revisit those to see if they’ve moved on…

Friendster: Out of beta!

Kinja: Still beta.

Orkut: Still beta.

Chicagoist: Out of beta!

And now… Let’s start a new batch and see how long these betas last:

Flickr is beta

Feedburner is beta

Dropcash is beta

MSN Search is beta (but their logo doesn’t show it — it’s in text)

Froogle is beta

Jotspot is beta

Rojo is beta

Snap is beta

Gmail is in beta

20 comments so far (Post a Comment)

11 Dec 2004 | LinkTiger said...

What about Google News? That's been out longer than most of the stuff you talked about! And honestly, there's really nothing wrong with it (except some really screwed up HTML, but that's never stopped other portal sites)

11 Dec 2004 | Jacob Rask said...

Google Suggest is also in beta.

11 Dec 2004 | Alex King said...

Jacob, how long has Google Suggest been out? It's very cool, I'm really suprised I haven't heard about it before.

11 Dec 2004 | John Zeratsky said...

Google Everything is still in beta.

11 Dec 2004 | Jake said...

Alex: I'm pretty sure that Google Suggest was only released this last week.

11 Dec 2004 | Gmail Anyone said...

What about google's GMail?

11 Dec 2004 | g said...

Wired ran a good story on why google news has been in beta for over three years.

11 Dec 2004 | Phillip Harrington said...

Call me crazy, but if it's on a public URL, it's not "beta," it's a "release."

11 Dec 2004 | jason said...

beta is just a way to not be responsible for the shit you put on the web

12 Dec 2004 | Holy Cow said...

That crap known as Orkut should go back to the drawing board, not be in Beta. I'm surprise the 37Sig boys haven't written anything yet about their lousy usability.

12 Dec 2004 | Gordon said...

What I find amazing is the take up on a lot of these sites. I wonder how adaptable this kind of model would be for a software program. When something like Flickr hits 1.0 I don't expect to notice a huge difference, some new features, bug fixes and the like but nothing major.

Unlike, say, Firefox which was fairly painful as you followed it's releases, updating extensions all along.

Not sure I agree with jason though, most of the better sites are using it as a way to generate initial interest whilst not limiting the functionality that can be available.

Maybe there should be a new term? After all, most of these sites are fairly reactive in introducing new features based on the most popular ones already in use... instead of releases maybe they should be "evolutions"?

13 Dec 2004 | seth said...

i'd tend to agree with that orkut comment...that site just sucks!

13 Dec 2004 | beto said...

Beta: A euphemism for "Got a bug? Deal with it and shut the f*&% up" ;-)

Both Gmail and Flickr seem pretty great and stable enough for me to consider switching to alpha phase. Or has the word "beta" become a fashionable logo thingy and I haven't realized it?


14 Dec 2004 | pb said...

Has anyone ever refused to use a service because it was "in beta"? I'm not sure what all the fuss is. Just pretend it's not "in beta".

15 Dec 2004 | Jacob Btter said...

MyJeeves is in beta and so is LinkedIN although they do not advertise with it in their logo :)

16 Dec 2004 | Flemming Mahler said...
- Still beta...

17 Dec 2004 | anon said...


as i recall, alpha is before beta... or did you mean you think flickr and gmail are buggy?

17 Dec 2004 | Horst said...

To be honest I currently don't see what Kinja adds to the world of RSS aggregators appart from that "easy adding sites without knowing their RSS url" thing. IMO the whole site is from the concept more alpha or pre-alpha than beta :-(

19 Dec 2004 | Bon said...

anon, I think what beto means is that he/she will consider using alpha, rather than beta, in their own developments.

21 Dec 2004 | Jacob Btter said... and Blingo is in beta too..

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