around the blogosphere : 10-29
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the beta phenomina

Beta The much hyped beta launch of Hulu has lit up the blogosphere.

- Introduction-
I understand why Hulu deserves the hype.  The technology for web based television/video viewing has been around for some time.  The bandwidth is there.  The last missing piece of the puzzle is content.  Hulu promises to begin filling in those missing puzzle pieces.

- Post -
More interesting however, than the content offering itself, are the reviews being written.

Reviewers are writing editorial as if Hulu was a finished product with a finalized content offering.  What ever happened to the days when beta releases were meant as a debugging and testing tool?  Aren't beta releases supposed to be somewhat unfinished?

Beta testing began as a way to route out bugs, to catch and fix glitches.  Beta testing was also a great way to build hype by giving influentials early access to a limited product.

But Beta Releases have come to represent something else.  Beta tests are now often public and at times extended releases, such as was the case with gmail.

So what does beta really mean anymore?  Should a beta be an almost finished product?  Should a beta be a finished but as yet unreleased product?  Is the term beta really even relevant anymore?