Google has made such liberal use of the “beta” moniker over the years that it has almost become a running gag with them. Generally, even years after a Google service has been deployed, it's still referred to as beta software. While it does good to remind users that they can tweak the service at any point and not to expect miracles, it's not something that inspires confidence in businesses and others looking for online services they can rely upon. Even if Gmail is rock-solid, who wants to use a “beta” product in a production environment?

It is for that reason and others that Google has finally decided to strip several of their online apps of their beta status. Google Docs, Calendar, Talk and Gmail have all officially left the beta stage. Though there have been no major changes to these apps recently, Google claims that each of them has exceeded what is expected of beta software. Further, the introduction of service level agreements on Google Apps indicates that these are “production-ready” services, suitable for business use.

Clearly, Google wants to make more money off their products. Though it may be nothing more than a name change, and many home users may not care if Google calls their service beta or not, it's an important change to those who intend to pay for a premium account.