Google Labs, long a source of tricks, hacks, and gizmos for Google users the world over, will soon shutter, leaving Google engineers the time and space to "prioritize" their "product efforts." In a post yesterday on the official company blog, Google exec Bill Coughran said 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," Coughran wrote. "And many of the Labs products that are Android apps today will continue to be available on Android Market. We’ll update you on our progress via the Google Labs website."
Coughran added that Google will "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." Meanwhile, Google is stressing that "in-product experimentation channels" such as Gmail Labs or Maps Labs are in no danger of disappearing. To look at it another way, Google Labs is going away, but its legacy will live on.
Over at PC World, Chandra Steele has a nice little list of "Google Labs projects that might get axed," among them Google Transliteration, Google Goggles, and Google Body. Google Labs really lurched into gear in 2006, promising "a playground where our more adventurous users can play around with prototypes of some of our wild and crazy ideas and offer feedback directly to the engineers who developed them."
So what will happen now that Google Labs is riding off into the sunset? Well, over at the Atlantic, Nicholas Jackson guesses that Google will "continue to launch new products," but only because the company must remain competitive with rivals.
"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," Jackson added. "Look what happened."
Over to you. Will you miss Google Labs? Drop us a line in the comments section.