Adios, Google Labs
Google has undoubtedly undergone a major change in recent weeks, both affirming some analysts and surprising others. As a part of consolidating their various projects and setting priorities for the overall brand, Google has announced they will be winding down Google Labs although in-product experimentation like labs in Gmail will not be ending.
Making the most of opportunities
“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,” said Bill Coughran, SVP for Research and Systems Infrastructure.
Many of the Google Labs products are already Android apps available on the Anddroid Market, another reason the Lab is no longer necessary.
“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,” Coughran said.
Products launched in a testing environment
For many years, we have watched Google Labs as they launch projects in beta to test user interest and to gauge which features work and which features do not, and often, products are scrapped altogether or products are folded into existing products.
Google Labs has created successful Google products such as Google Reader as well as Google Goggles.
The problem with closing Google Labs
Nicholas Jackson at TheAtlantic.com wrote, “Without Google Labs, you can expect to see Google continue to launch new products — or continue to try out new things with Google+ — but only because it has to to remain competitive. Without the testing ground and public development period that other prototypes have been subjected to, though, you can also expect to see more failures. Brutal, public failures. Remember Google Buzz? Some genius had the idea to launch that messaging tool without running it through Google Labs first. Look what happened.”