As Google noted, one of the features they touted and many (most?) users love is:
With Google Apps, new features are available with a refresh of the web browser. There’s no need to wait years for the next big software release or manage a complex set of installers, software patches, and hardware upgrades.It IS wonderful to be notified of a new feature and immediately begin using it. As a user. As IT support, it can be a nightmare, especially if that new feature comes with any kind of bug.
So the new process attempts to fit both small and mid-sized business as well as the enterprise:
Our new process has two release tracks that Google Apps administrators can choose from:Back in 2008 I was laughing at Google Apps as a business tool, and six months later we were running our business on it. Using the old software model would not have gotten Google Apps where it is today.
- Rapid Release: Customers on the Rapid Release track have access to new features as soon as the features have completed testing and quality assurance, and are ready to roll out.
- Scheduled Release: Customers on the Scheduled Release track gain access to new features on a regular, weekly release schedule following the initial release of those features. This delay allows time for administrators to familiarize themselves with new features using a test domain, educate support staff, and communicate any changes to their users. New features will be released on the Scheduled Release track each Tuesday, with at least a one-week notice following the initial feature launch.
But successful roll-outs in the enterprise environment depend on scheduling, testing and training before deployment. The bigger the organization and change, the more testing and training required.
This must be very expensive for Google to implement and maintain, but it's probably necessary for them to continue to make inroads into large enterprises with their product.
Here's the Official Google Enterprise Blog post:
Official Google Enterprise Blog: New Google Apps feature release process