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How to Use Beta Features Before the Public (Updated for 2015!)

Microsoft AntiSpyware Beta 1 (Version 1.0.701)
Microsoft AntiSpyware Beta 1 (Version 1.0.701) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Sometimes you want reliable technology that does what it's told, when it's told to, and on an expected timeline.  Other times, you want your technology cutting, no BLEEDING edge, brand new, untested, skydiving off a mountain adrenaline rush BETA.

What is Beta?  Well, what is software?  When software is written, the first draft, unseen by any but the programmers, is called the "Alpha" version.  The first release of software to any member of the greater public for testing is called "Beta."

Many companies release their Beta products to the public already: Google, AOL, many video game companies, Microsoft, and others.

Betas are rough-cuts, not fine tuned, and prone to error.  So who would want to use Beta?


  1. Technology creators OR system administrators looking to ensure compatibility with their own technology.
  2. People looking for free software who are willing to risk some errors.
  3. Users whom have found that existing software does not come close to meeting their needs.
  4. Individuals who love new things and new technology.
  5. Individuals who either enjoy giving feedback on new products or are looking for an inside scoop or information on a company or its products (for journalism, an interview at the company, etc.)


If a company does not release its Beta software to the general public, how can we find it?

Obviously, no one should ever attempt to guess a password or bypass security to access a company's products, but often, Beta software is not secured or restricted, it's just unadvertised:


  1. Adobe (maker of Photoshop) Betas - http://labs.adobe.com/
  2. AOL Betas -http://beta.aol.com/main
  3. Google "Blogspot" Betas - http://draft.blogger.com/home
  4. Google Chrome Betas - https://www.google.com/intl/en/chrome/browser/beta.html
  5. Steam Linux Betas - http://www.valvesoftware.com/linuxsurvey.php


That's just a very small sampling of what Beta software is available out there.  Beta software can also refer to versions of a website, so in some cases, a search for Beta software will turn up the new layout for corporate website that's not ready for public consumption yet.

You can find Betas in a few ways:


  1. Email the company in question and politely ask where the application is for their Beta testing program.
  2. Search Google for phrases such as: adobe betas
  3. Search Google for much broader terms, such as: "site:beta.*.*" (no quotation marks) or "site:labs.*.*"
  4. Look for a Beta test link on the website itself.
  5. Ask in the user forums.


Some great Beta stuff available:

New for 2015!





  1. Listen to a Movie (Movie Audio Site): http://beta.l2am.com/
  2. Tom Clancy's "The Division" Video Game Beta: http://tomclancy-thedivision.ubi.com/game/en-us/beta/
  3. Apple Beta Software: https://beta.apple.com/sp/betaprogram/
  4. Battle.net "Overwatch" Video Game Beta: http://us.battle.net/overwatch/en/blog/19919176/
  5. Battle.net Beta Notifications Sign-Up: https://us.battle.net/support/en/article/beta-optin-information
  6. "Gigantic" Video Game Beta: https://www.gogigantic.com/en/
  7. "War Room" Video Game Beta: http://privateerpress.com/war-room-beta-sign-up
  8. "Fable Legends" Beta: https://www.fablelegends.com/
  9. "Overpower" Beta: http://www.futurebetagamer.com/overpower-beta-sign-up/
  10. Dropbox "Paper" Beta: https://www.dropbox.com/paper

Popular!


  1. Google Chrome Betas: https://www.google.com/chrome/browser/beta.html
  2. Amazon Mobile Analytics Beta: https://developer.amazon.com/appsandservices/apis/manage/analytics
  3. Microsoft Games Betas: https://connect.microsoft.com/MGSBetas
  4. Microsoft Software Betas: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/evalcenter/default.aspx
  5. Adobe Software Betas: http://labs.adobe.com/
  6. Adobe Private Betas: https://www.adobe.com/cfusion/mmform/index.cfm?name=prerelease_interest
  7. YouTube Labs (Betas): https://www.youtube.com/testtube
  8. Wikipedia Beta (app): https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.wikipedia.beta
  9. Microsoft Translator Labs (beta): http://labs.microsofttranslator.com/
  10. Wordpress Beta: https://wordpress.org/download/beta/
  11. PayPal Beta / Developer: https://developer.paypal.com/
  12. The Crew Game Beta from UBI: http://thecrew-game.ubi.com/portal/en-us/beta/index.aspx
High Level / Big Companies:
  1. Boston.com and Bostonglobe.com Beta Blog: http://beta.boston.com/
  2. Congress.gov's Beta: http://beta.congress.gov/
  3. New York Times Site Betas: http://beta620.nytimes.com/
  4. Dolphin (HTML5 Browser for Android):http://dolphin-browser.com/beta/
General:
  1. Ableton Audio Editor Beta: https://www.ableton.com/en/beta-signup/
  2. Blackberry Beta Apps: https://beta.webapps.blackberry.com
  3. Command and Conquer Frostbite 2 Beta: http://www.commandandconquer.com/free/
  4. Swype Android App Beta: http://beta.swype.com/
  5. Defiance PC Game Beta: http://www.defiance.com/en/beta/?CAS_REDIR=true
  6. Motley Fool's Beta Website: http://beta.fool.com/
  7. Oracle Certification Tests Beta: http://education.oracle.com/pls/web_prod-plq-dad/db_pages.getpage?page_id=182
  8. Plume (Android Twitter Client) Beta: http://levelupstudio.com/beta
  9. United States Law Revision Council Beta: http://uscodebeta.house.gov/
  10. Copic Marker Company Beta: https://beta.copicmarker.com/
  11. ICI Homes (Florida Custom Homes) Beta: https://beta.icihomes.com/
  12. MangaFox Manga Reader Beta: http://beta.mangafox.com/
  13. Simplifyd online project management: http://www.simplifyd.io/
Beta Video Games (some require sign-up):
  1. Company of Heroes 2 Beta: http://www.companyofheroes.com/beta
  2. Elder Scrolls Online Game Beta Signup: http://signup.elderscrollsonline.com/
  3. Eve Online / Dust514: http://dust514.com/beta/
  4. GeForce Graphics Card Drivers Beta: http://www.geforce.com/drivers/beta-legacy
  5. Primal Carnage PC Game Beta: http://www.primalcarnage.com/website/beta
  6. RIFT: Storm Legion Beta: http://stormlegion.riftgame.com/en/beta/
  7. Unity (video game creator suite) Beta: http://unity3d.com/unity/beta/download
  8. Waren Story: http://waren.gplayon.com/Announcement/Article/165
  9. Wildstar Online Beta: http://www.wildstar-online.com/en/beta/
Beta Antivirus Software:
  1. Dr. Web Antivirus Beta: http://beta.drweb.com/
  2. Kaspersky Antivirus Beta (currently closed, will open again?): http://www.kaspersky.com/downloads/beta_testing
  3. McAfee Antivirus Beta Testing: http://www.mcafee.com/us/downloads/beta-programs/index.aspx
  4. Norton Antivirus Beta Testing: http://us.norton.com/beta/