Google has decided to shut down and kill its Google Labs initiative as part of the company’s efforts to streamline its product portfolio and focus its development efforts. So its over fellas. We no longer will be able to play with new products that Google engineers were experimenting with.
However, on the brighter side, Google indicated that many of the products and technology from Google Labs would be integrated into some of the company’s other existing as well as experimental products, which range from the world’s No. 1 search engine to its popular Android smartphone operating system.
Many Labs products that are in the Android Market can still be downloaded to phones powered by Google’s Android mobile software.
Google Labs was an online playground where people could dabble with early versions of new Google services or products being worked on by engineers at the Internet powerhouse.
“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,” Bill Coughran, senior vice president for research and systems infrastructure, wrote in a blog post.
Pulling the plug on Labs is part of a strategy by Google chief executive Larry Page to “put more wood in fewer arrows” by prioritizing projects at the California-based company.
During the company’s most recent earnings conference call, co-founder Larry Page, who took over as CEO in April, said that the company was in the midst of trimming its broad palette of products and services, eliminating those that haven’t proven popular and successful.
Google recently killed off a couple of other projects that were not gaining traction. Last month it pulled the plug on Google Health, a personal health records service, and turned off the lights on Google PowerMeter, a service for monitoring Web-based home energy use.
However, product-specific Labs sites, like Gmail Labs, Google Maps Labs and Search Experiments, aren’t affected by the decision to close down Google Labs, a company spokesman said via e-mail.
Also, the closing of Google Labs doesn’t affect the company’s policy to encourage employees to devote 20 percent of their work time to projects of their own invention, the spokesman said.
“We’re going to keep experimenting and innovating, but we want to do it at a larger scale — so instead of dispersing our efforts across lots of isolated individual products, we’re re-focusing our efforts on projects with global impact, and making even bigger bets there. Our goal is to innovate faster than ever, and with greater impact,” he said.
The Google spokesperson said the company did not have any specific timing for the end of Google Labs, but said it would provide updates on the Google Labs website.