This is new: companies used to release products and label them as alpha or beta. Then, web sites rolled out the perpetual beta. Now, Google Docs has a search and replace feature that is labeled alpha. I hope this is something that will not catch on, but as Software-as-a-Service becomes more pervasive, I'm afraid it will.
(FYI this screenshot also shows a working version of the syllabus for The Social Web course that I will be co-teaching this fall)