A lot of times in computers, we see the words "Beta Release". I recently learned first hand what this means.. Wikipedia says that it is "A software release ... of an initial or upgraded version of a computer software product" (see here).
Sometimes a product can stay in the "Beta" release for a long time. I've been using Gmail from Google for around four years and it's still in Beta (see here for discussion of Gmail beta). Gmail works great and has many advantages over other web-based email products. I've even know several organizations that use Gmail as their primary email system.
But recently, I found that "Beta" can mean the product still has a few bugs left in it. I'm a big believer in Google Maps, and we wanted to walk across the Cooper River Bridge in Charleston. We found a starting address (764 E Bay St, Charleston, SC 29403) and an ending address (920 Houston Northcutt Blvd, Mt Pleasant, SC 29464) for our walk and used Google to map it out.
First shot, it showed 3.7 miles about 8 minutes driving time. Great makes good since. Then I see that you can ask for walking directions. Ok, makes sense to me, so I put that into Google. Imagine my surprise when it says that it is now 71.5 Miles about 23 hours 15 minutes. WOW. That's a lot further walking than I want to try. (Actually we walked it using the driving directions. Took a little more than 8 minutes but a lot less than 23 hours).
I guess now I understand what Beta really means...