One of the tenets of Web 2.0, according to Tim O’Reilly’s seminal article, is “the perpetual beta.” That is, “the product is developed in the open, with new features slipstreamed in on a monthly, weekly, or even daily basis.”
I know, I know: two datapoints does not a trend make. Also, I’m not really sure you could reasonably call Gmail a Web 2.0-ish application… I mean, email is about as Web 1.0 as it gets. But it’s Google… so gets some 2.0-ish cred somehow.
Also, just because Gmail and RTM have dropped the “beta” label, doesn’t mean they’ve stopped rolling out functionality rapidly. Or that they’re developed any less in the open.
But I just wonder what it means for the whole concept of 2.0-ishness that two of the best established web-native applications have abandoned the beta label. I suspect they won’t be the last, either. Does this mean that the label “beta” isn’t as cool anymore as it was once upon a time? (“Once upon a time” being a phrase which here means, two short years ago.) That calling something beta won’t give you cred any more? Or is this just the natural progression of the End of the Software Release Cycle that O’Reilly predicted? That calling something “beta” isn’t even necessary any more; it’s just assumed?