The Web is abuzz with news that Google finally took its office suite, including Gmail, out of beta. Initially launched on April 1, 2004 as an invitation-only release, over five years have passed before Gmail finally graduated to a fully mature product. I would love to know the reasoning behind such an uncommonly long beta period, especially since many have considered it fully-baked for quite some time now.
Intentions and product strategy aside, there were some noteworthy elements to the first full version of Gmail. This release had a few changes from the most recent beta version, and I am still trying to decide if these changes will ultimately benefit me. However, I was particularly impressed with the elegant and effective implementation of notifications explaining the feature enhancements and changes. These made for a smoother transition for me, the user; I greatly appreciated that.