Google shutters Labs to refocus

Google are to shutter their proving ground for up-and-coming technologies, according to a [blog post] by their Senior Vice President for Research, Bill Coughran.

Google Labs has been Google's playground for releasing technologies that are interesting and potentially useful, but not currently integrated into existing products. The Labs spans all kinds of Google products, proving Search labs, Gmail labs, and Calendar labs, as well as labs for Android applications, and general libraries or APIs that Google are testing out.

“We’ve decided to wind down Google Labs”, writes Coughran. “We believe that greater focus is crucial if we’re to make the most of the extraordinary opportunities ahead”.

“This will mean ending Labs experiments.”

Graduates of Google Labs, as the projects from Labs which make it into full-blown projects are called, include huge products such as Maps, Reader, Groups, Alerts, Scholar, and Suggest – the precursor to the now indispensable Instant.

It seems unlikely that there will be anything to replace Labs going forwards. Coughran writes that his aim is to streamline and concentrate development: so it looks like future Google products might benefit from this refocussing of engineering talent (as if there was a lack of that anyway).

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