I just thought I'd enlighten everyone as to why many Google services stay in beta for so long. Yes, I did search the forums before posting this (search "Google beta" if in doubt). When Google launches a new service under beta status, Google is declaring that the concept behind the service is still in beta, but the service itself is stable enough for everyday use. Google's alphas are the truly unstable ones. I've found evidence to support this theory in Google Groups, GMail, Froogle, Google News, and numerous other Google services.