Whenever I install a software update -- or have an update imposed on cloud software, like GMail -- I have a feeling of hope underlaid by a sense of dread. I am hoping the upgrade will do wonderful things for my productivity (the sole reason for using software); I am dreading that the upgrade will (a) make things more unstable and/or (b) erase functions I find useful. Hence, it is useful to let bleeding edge users get burned by the update first, while the rest of us sit back and wait for yelps of pain to emerge -- or not.
One of the drawbacks to cloud computing is that it takes away our control over updates. (Heck, the cloud takes control away from all aspects of computing.) In their drive to lock up customers ever more tightly, software vendors spin this as a positive: everyone happily up-to-date, running the latest release in harmony. The anti-nirvana of all 4.5 million users experiencing the same bug is seen as a good thing, somehow. (Lately, I have arrived at the assumption that software developers share the delusion of dog owners: "My dog never bites.")
Anyhow, the good news today from Google is that users can delay updates. Leena Rao of TechCrunch reports:
Users can now choose between two feature tracks—rapid release and scheduled release:
Rapid Release users will have access to new features as soon as the features have completed testing and quality assurance, and are ready to roll out.
Scheduled Release users will access new features on a weekly schedule, with at least a one-week notice following the initial feature launch. These users can also preview feature releases on a test domain...
Even better would be updates delayed until manually approved by the customer, as Google Docs' spreadsheet implemented it last year.
If Google can do it, then krazy-for-the-kloud CAD vendors can do it, too.