Friday, July 25, 2008

Beta or Alpha?

To start with, if you do not know the basic difference of Beta and Alpha versions of software, here it goes. The alpha build of the software is the build delivered to the software testers, usually internal to the organization or community that develops the software.

Whereas a beta version is the first version released outside the organization or community that develops the software, for the purpose of evaluation or real-world black/grey-box testing. The process of delivering a beta version to the users is called beta release. Beta level software generally includes all features, but may also include known issues and bugs of a less serious variety.

Now, let's come to current trends. First of all, nowadays companies like Google run their products in the markets for years and claim them to be beta versions. For example, Orkut, used by more than 12 crore people, is still in beta stage.

Now let's talk about Google's new service, Knol. Knol is a service started by Google where users can write their own pages about anything and put it online, something similar to Wikipedia, except that there can be a number of pages on a single topic in Knol, and they will belong to the owner of the page.

Now, Knol is in its Beta stage, but the service doesn't even have a working search system. The question is, how can a service that is so much dependent on search, reach its beta stage without a proper search sysytem.

Interestingly, Knol belongs to Google, which is considered the second name for search on Internet. Hope Google does something about it soon.

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