The Google Friends And Family Plan

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Before Google unveils its beta products, they appear to utilize some early beta testers close to home, or more to the point, close to their employees’ homes.

Notable Google tracker Garett Rogers blogged about his discovery of the Google “Trusted Tester” program. He stumbled across this while probing around Google for more information on its long-rumored Calendar program.

What he found was a login to the Trusted Tester program, accessible with a Google Account presumably for invited users only. His searching then led to a FAQ for the program, which lists the usual bits about beta products potentially containing bugs and how Google wants feedback on those.

Having a Google account isn’t enough to invite people to a beta test, though. The FAQ specifically noted where invites must originate:

Can I invite my friends to become Trusted Testers?
Sorry, but for now, only Google employees can invite their friends and family members to become Trusted Testers. We’d prefer it if you didn’t mention the Trusted Tester Program to anyone outside of Google.

Um, woops. Anyway, about those bugs. If one of those errant pieces of code proves especially problematic, Google permits its Trusted Testers to take action:

Will these Google betas crash my computer?
While we do some testing of Google betas before we offer them to Trusted Testers, they’re still early in the product development cycle, and it’s possible that a beta will cause problems on your computer. If this happens, we ask that you let us know the details. You’re then welcome to uninstall the beta if you’d prefer.

Gee, thanks. As Rogers observed, software companies have testing departments. This one just extends the process to more or less “normal” users outside the Googleplex, to get an extra perspective on a new product release.

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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

The Google Friends And Family Plan
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