GMail: Beta-testing, or just marketing?


I often go to the library here in Vallejo, which doesn’t use Mozilla. Instead, they use Internet Explorer, despite all the little warnings about how big a piece of junk it is.
So, I want to check my GMail account using Internet Explorer. According to GMail’s own site, IE5.5+ is supported.
http://gmail.google.com/gmail/help/about.html
According to IE6, GMail is broken.

Object expected
Line: 54
Char: 16

I figured, okay, I might as well tell Google about it. This IS a beta-test service, right? So I went looking for an e-mail address to say to Google, “Hey, you’ve got a bug here.” Just being the good little tech that most of the invites have gone to.
Except there doesn’t seem to be an e-mail address for them… no way, in fact, to contact GMail’s developers or tech support if anything is wrong. GMail doesn’t appear on any of Google’s About pages, so that’s a dead end too.
If you can’t give feedback during a beta-test, what’s the point of the beta-test?!? I’m not as upset about not being able to access GMail from IE (like they claimed I could) as I am about not having a way to really beta-test this thing.
Is it beta-testing, or marketing disguised as beta-testing?
I dearly hope Google is beta-testing the service as they claimed, and that they are looking for feedback. Maybe one of them will stumble across this blog entry (and if any of you have contacts @ Google, please point them to this!), and let us developers, hackers, techs and people testing their system tell them what we think they can improve! I would not be writing this blog entry if I could contact them directly.

11 thoughts on “GMail: Beta-testing, or just marketing?”

  1. Thanks for the links. Incidentally, did anyone notice that you can’t even read their bug reports without being logged into GMail?
    More of the same problem: either you’re in and then we can help you, or you’re not and we’re keeping everything secret, including how to get in.

  2. How can I obtain a GMail e-mail account If I’m a tech?
    Just out of curiousity, so many people have it, although registration is closed.

  3. GMail is constantly changing. In the two weeks I’ve had GMail, I’ve noticed three interface changes of note, such as the merging of the formerly separate “Apply Label” and “More Actions…” fields. So, most likely this is a temporary bug and nothing that you should expect to remain for long. Google alone knows how many unseen changes have taken place under the hood at the same time, both at Google and in the GMail interface.

  4. I filed a ticket with gmail once. 3 months later I got a reply stating that my issue had been forwarded to the proper group. :S

  5. Err. It’s a limited beta test because if they make it open, everyone is going to get one and abuse it, and they won’t be able to keep up with the demand.
    (Answer: I wasn’t griping about GMail not being open. I was griping about GMail’s bug system not being open.)

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