Re: Everything Google does is in Beta
As an anonymous former employee: Google's promotions structure is based on being able to say "I solved this non-negligible problem" and it prides itself on permitting internal employee mobility. Problem solving of a sufficiently glamorous degree is hard to achieve on an established, well-maintained product. So employees tend to prefer to try to do something 'new', where new is defined to be anything Google doesn't currently do as far as they can see.
So as a product matures team members migrate to anything adjacent that is immature, slowly destaffing the mature product until it has failed to keep up with sufficiently many internal infrastructure an external branding changes that it becomes legacy. Sometimes somebody else will then take the opportunity to implement a completely distinct version of the same thing, because there's obviously an audience and they get to tick the "solved a problem" box.
So as a rule, a Google product will survive only if it is able to become sufficiently large as to allow team, feature and implementation churn without affecting branding. That's Search, Docs, etc. If a product has a relatively straightforward purpose and can one day be said reasonably to be complete then it'll probably die. That's Hangouts, Reader, etc.
That all being said, I was purely a software engineer. I can't speak directly as to what causes the various hardware missteps.