Google Apps come out of beta

The search giant has taken Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs and Google Talk out of beta, and announced new disaster recovery measures, in a push to attract business users
Written by David Meyer, Contributor

Google has taken the beta tag off its Apps productivity suite, in a bid to increase enterprise adoption of tools including Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs and Google Talk.

Rajen Sheth, the senior product manager for Google Apps, said in a blog post on Tuesday that taking the services out of beta would "remove any doubt that Apps is a mature product suite".

"Since the beginning of the year, we've focused on making it as easy as possible for those large enterprises to switch to Google, and offline access, BlackBerry and Microsoft Outlook support, and enterprise contact management were the dynamite that cleared the road to Apps," Sheth wrote. "Today we're paving the road."

Removing Apps's beta tag was not the only enterprise-courting move made by Google on Tuesday. Sheth also announced that the company would implement live replication of data to other locations "for near-instant disaster recovery, and special handling of business users' data in our datacentre operations".

In addition, Google has made a couple of enhancements to Apps. A new feature, email delegation, lets administrative staff screen and send email on behalf of others. Email retention has also been added so IT departments can institute message-purging policies.

According to Sheth, these new features will become available to Premier edition customers over the coming weeks.

The Google Apps announcements were made shortly before Google revealed it will release a lightweight desktop operating system, Chrome OS, later this year. Chrome OS will largely be based around the browser, it said.

Chrome OS will have a strong focus on cloud-based services instead of on locally installed PC applications. That makes the now fully-fledged Google Apps suite a competitor to Microsoft Office, as Chrome OS is to Windows.

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