Most often found in relation to technology firms, applications, devices, and software, the "Beta release", or "Beta" for short, is an extremely powerful way to test software while not being responsible for anything at all.
Brad, the tech startup Founder guy: So, are we ready? The new Big Balls in the Air facebook widget has gotta be ready by now! I promised the public back at tech-expo 2008.1 we'd launch in November!
Harold the realistic programmer lead: Not at all. We have a crappy website, with no content, and our widget sucks. It only has 3 of the 34 functions we have been programming into it working yet.
Brad: Can the widget be downloaded as a plug and play app? What about Code Snippets for the more advanced users?
Harold: Well... yes, but...
Brad: Shush! Release it! Release it as a Beta!
Harold: But it's full of bugs, and it would take us a full year of 10 testers to get to all of the functions in the widget spec!
Brad: Exactly! Now you're getting it! Now you're seeing the big picture! We will have the millions of excited Facebook widget users test our beta for FREE! It's Brilliant!
Harold: And if they complain?
Brad: Who cares?! It's a BETA for crap's sake! No companies are ever responsible for what happens in a Beta Release!