Perpetual Beta – Gmail

After the appearing of web 2.0 applications, there is no need to download software from the internet, or look for updates for new versions of programs. This post will show pattern six of web 2.0 applications which is perpetual beta. To know what perpetual beta is, I should explain it concisely. Perpetual beta is a software developer term which is used to depict software or a system which never leaves the development phase of beta. In the light of Web 2.0, it indicates the fact that a developer or community is constantly seeking to improve software they are releasing. To clarify the perpetual beta more, I should provide some examples. Firstly, the users of web 2.0 applications do not have to download the new version to get a new functionality. Secondly, the users are co- developers of web 2.0 applications since they suggest to add new features. Finally, the users will never run an obsolete version and do not know what the existing version is.

Gmail will be demonstrated as a web 2.0 application to link it with this week pattern. Gmail is a free web application. It is a product of Google. Gmail offers more than seven GB free storage for messages and attachments. Additionally, users of Gmail can upload their files, photos easily to Gmail. Furthermore, Gmail offers users to purchase more storage space. Finally, Gmail users can utilize all Google’s products such as the calendar, documents, reader…etc.

Google released Gmail in 2004 and it has been under development since then. There are some enhancements Gmail made such as: adding up to 53 languages, group chat, mobile application, video chat, buzz …etc. In addition, the last and the most interesting development released in August 2010 is phone calls service. It allows people to make free phone calls from Gmail accounts to U.S.A and Canada.

Finally, by accessing labs on Gmail settings, users can customize to their preferences. This can be exemplified by adding or removing beta label from Gmail logo. Whereas the users are co-developer, Gmail provides a form to suggest a feature for Gmail from the users. So,Gmail will never escape beta. All in all, I reckon Gmail will be beta forever.

Do you think that perpetual beta will never die? Why?

Reference List:

Xbox live nation


Robbie Allen



  1. #1 by Deb Warren on 05/01/2011 - 6:50 AM

    Hey, that ‘suggest a feature’ tool is a great enhancement to services in ‘perpetual beta’.

  2. #2 by Abdullah Alsaleh on 05/03/2011 - 1:14 AM

    Hey Naif, this is a great post. Nice example for this pattern.

    To answer your question, I believe in some point in the future the Gmail services should be completed. After that, it’s just “accessories” to make the website looks efficient. I think most of the Gmail services have not been used, so the “beta” label might as well be removed from the logo.
    Also, there might be some bugs in Gmail, which is why they use the “beta” label as an excuse to say the services are not completed or fixed. At the end, this is my opinion.

    I think you should read this blog

  3. #3 by empecee on 05/04/2011 - 12:26 PM


    They might take away the beta lable, but they will still probably be in PB mode, as a software application will always need to be tweeked from time to time, thats the nature of thing’s computing.

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