We are seeing more and more applications/software pieces going into beta. I am a memeber of so many beta software companies – box.net (which is finally out of beta), everything Google, Yahoo just launched their new site look which was in beta for some time, AOL has a new beta viedo set to rival YouTube. It seems everyone has a beta product.
Don’t get me wrong my intention for this post is not to paint a bad pictures around betas – IE 7.0 has been in beta since my son was born two years ago. I just find it amazing that everyone seems to be pushing out semi-release software. It shows what I believe to be a big shift in the user driven software market.
In the past we were given software in select groups. You had to be a partner or a user with 10 hours to spare a week and it was a select few. If you remember, you were sent a username and password to some secret site and you had to sign some sort of NDA. I think what is happening is a great idea. Give people the software in an early stage with the bare minimum from a features standpoint and get feedback. What works, what doesn’t work.
I applaud this movement and I see it as a symbol of this user driven Internet that is beginning to take shape and form.