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November 13, 2007

Version Numbers for Google's Apps

While most Google apps are still in beta, it's clear that some of them are more mature than others. For example, Gmail has more than six years of development, three years and a half since launch and more features than other "out of beta" mail services. That shouldn't worry people too much because leaving the beta stage is not a sign that everything is perfect (Yahoo Mail is a perfect example, look at the comments from this post).

Google's applications have their own versions and roadmaps, but these are not public. That's why it's interesting to see what versions you would attribute to each Google application: 0.1 should mean a very early release, 1.0 should mean the first major release etc. Here's a list of some important Google apps.

Gmail: released on April 1st, 2004 (interface)
Google Calendar: released on April 12th, 2006 (interface)
Google Reader: released in October 2005 (interface)
Google Docs - documents: Google acquired Writely in March 2006 (interface)
Google Docs - spreadsheets: released in June 2006 (interface)
Google Docs - presentations: released in September 2007 (interface)
Google Notebook: released in May 2006 (interface)
Picasa Web Albums: released in June 2006 (interface)

An example of versioning:
Gmail 2.9 - the old version
Google Calendar 1.3 - needs synchronization
Google Reader 0.8 - better feed management, faster updates
Google Docs (documents) 0.5
Google Docs (spreadsheets) 0.7
Google Docs (presentations) 0.2 - should be alpha
Google Notebook 1.1 - one of the best Google apps
Picasa Web Albums 0.8 - still needs a community

What are your versions and why?


  1. Just a note, it would have been interesting to include Google's released version names (for Google Desktop

    Here's what I say:
    Gmail - POP3, Chat, and IMAP - 2.5-2.9
    new Gmail is currently 3.0alpha. It's not ready for public use.
    Google Finance 1.5 (with near real-time update)
    Google Maps - 3.5ish Map, Satellite, Hybrid, Traffic, Intermediate Stops, Street View, Drag Route, Mapplets
    (Google Maps API is currently v2.xx)

    Here's some Google products that DO have a version number with them, so compare these versions with how fast Google's roadmaps are.

    (I got some of these numbers from and, which aren't the most up-to-date on their software versions)
    Google Talk 1.0.104
    Google Desktop 5.1.0705.1
    Google Desktop Mac 1.1
    Google Earth 4.0.2737
    Google Earth Mac 4.1
    Google Groups 2
    Google Toolbar IE 4
    Google Toolbar FF 3
    Google SketchUp 6
    Google Picasa 2.7
    (all the mobile applications and Google Apps version)

  2. Google Docs spreadsheets is currenctly V1.2.7u
    (Hover over the Help at the top right in the window of any open Google Docs spreadsheet to see this.)

  3. if Gmail starts with version 1.0, then it is probably around 1.8 or 1.9. I don't see a version 2... except there were some huge changes... at least i did not see anything.

    actually, it must be called Gmail Alpha... because somehow it's getting slower and slower... :|

    Anyway, my guess is Gmail 1.x

  4. (any connection to real numbers is coincidental)

    Gmail 2.0 (alpha)
    Google Reader: 1.0 (stable)
    Google Calendar: 1.5 (beta)
    Google Docs: 1.0 (alpha)
    Google Earth: 2.5
    Google Android: 0.5 (early developer preview)
    Google Gears: 0.5 (early developer preview)
    Google Sets: 1.0 (stable)
    Blogger: 3.0 (alpha)
    AdSense: 3.0 (alpha)

  5. To give Google Docs (Documents) a version 0.5 is generous. Right now it can't even handle something as elementary as margins (which Zoho can do quite nicely.) Until then, it's virtually unusable for serious work.

  6. In some of the web apps, hover above the "more ▼" link on the top, then the version number will appear. (http://[servicename]**.**/#)

    For example, Picasa Web Albums is currently version 25.24.

  7. @Mitch: I couldn't care less about margins; i can adjust those in any word processor when I am finished writing the text.

    I am really afraid that all these people who are shouting that they want Google Docs to include more features from MS Office detract Google from continuing to improve what makes Docs a nice application: namely, a simple-to-use and reliable tool for online collaboration.

    I am using it now to write a scientific publication together with my student. Serious work, I think.

    My perceived version numbers:
    Google Docs: v1.2 (word processor part only)
    Gmail: v2.5 (IMAP made me switch)
    Google Maps: v1.5 (could be a bit more tolerant with respect to spelling variations)

  8. Google Spreadsheets is now on 1.2.8 ;)


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