Google Closes it’s Lab Doors

After just talking about Google’s new security warning, Google has announced that it is going to “wind down Google Labs.” which comes as a shock to some hard-core users and question Google’s future in innovation for others.

Google Labs have been the playground where Google’s engineers ask for feedback on some of their crazy and fun ideas they come up with, among those products are Google Maps, Reader, Video, Docs, Trends, and Similar image search.

In a sense of relief,

…While we’ve learned a huge amount by launching very early prototypes in Labs, we believe that greater focus is crucial if we’re to make the most of the extraordinary opportunities ahead.

In many cases, this will mean ending Labs experiments—in others we’ll incorporate Labs products and technologies into different product areas.

Google CEO Larry page has said he has been working to make product development easier to tap opportunities in the mobile, social, and e-commerce markets. However for the past month, Page, who recently took over as CEO in April introduced the social rival to Facebook but retired Google Health and Google PowerMeter.

Google Labs has always been a place where the Search Giant encouraged innovation among it’s employees and allowing the public to test new products early to refine them before official launch. Based on the post, Google Employees are given 20 percent time to innovation, which would mean engineers could spend one day a week working on projects that “aren’t necessarily in our job descriptions” as described by an engineer on Google’s blog back in 2006. Which allowed engineers to freedom to create something new or fix something that was broken which the engineer made reference to about creating new features in Google Reader during this 20 percent time.

Many of the labs products that are Android apps today will continue to be available on the Android Market, but the Google Labs website will continue to announce the progress of it’s closure

We’ll continue to push speed and innovation—the driving forces behind Google Labs—across all our products, as the early launch of the Google+ field trial last month showed.

Is how the announcement concluded with an update that took place later in the day;

To clarify: we don’t have any plans to change in-product experimentation channels like Gmail Labs or Maps Labs. We’ll continue to experiment with new features in each of our products.

The basis of the announcement sounds to me like they are trying to cut back the free time to create new products to spend that time working on tweaking and creating new ideas for current products. While I am not opposed to this idea, and nothing is better than a Lab’s add-on to prevent drunk e-mailing in Gmail but, it is sad to see the doors to the labs being closed. How do you feel about the closure of Google Labs?


Learn more the author of this post:

Andrew Wilson
Andrew has been poking and prodding computers for 11 years who occasionally writes about Technology and Video Games while working towards getting his Bachelors in Computer Engineering. He is also one of the contributors to the Let's Play's on the site.