Product launch stages
At Preview, products or features are ready for testing by customers. Preview offerings are often publicly announced, but are not necessarily feature-complete, and no SLAs or technical support commitments are provided for these. Unless stated otherwise by Google, Preview offerings are intended for use in test environments only. The average Preview stage lasts about six months.
General Availability products and features are open to all customers, ready for production use, and covered by a Google Cloud SLA, where applicable. Google typically supports General Availability products and features through APIs, CLIs, and the Google Cloud Console, except in unusual circumstances where providing one or more of the foregoing capabilities is unreasonable in the context of the particular product or feature.
Early access, alpha, beta
Early access: Early access features are limited to a closed group of testers for a limited subset of launches. Participation is by invitation only and may require signing a pre-general-availability agreement, including confidentiality provisions. These features may be unstable, change in backward-incompatible ways, and are not guaranteed to be released. There are no SLAs provided and no technical support obligations. Early access releases are rare and focus on validating product prototypes.
Alpha: Alpha is a limited-availability test before releases are cleared for more widespread use. Our focus with alpha testing is to verify functionality and gather feedback from a limited set of customers. Typically, alpha participation is by invitation and subject to pre-general-availability terms. Alpha releases don't have to be feature complete, no SLAs are provided, and there are no technical support obligations. However, alphas are generally suitable for use in test environments. The alpha phase usually lasts six months.
Beta: At beta, products or features are ready for broader customer testing and use. Betas are often publicly announced. There are no SLAs or technical support obligations in a beta release unless otherwise specified in product terms or the terms of a particular beta program. The average beta phase lasts about six months.
Note: Depending on product maturity and engineering needs, a Google Cloud product or feature may not go through Preview and the time between launch phases may vary.