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Google to "wind down" Labs

Playground to be closed, ideas to be integrated or killed

Labs
Google Labs: a victim of Google prioritisation

Google has announced that the company is to “wind down” Google Labs, which the site’s FAQ describes as “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.”

Bill Coughran, SVP for research and systems Infrastructure revealed the move on the Official Google Blog, stating that it follows last week’s explanation from CEO Larry Page that the company was to prioritise its product efforts.

“Greater focus has also been another big feature for me this quarter: more wood behind fewer arrows,” he said. “Focus and prioritisation are crucial given our amazing opportunities,” he added.

Coughran argued that while the company has learned a great deal by launching very early prototypes in Google Labs, it believes that “greater focus is crucial if we’re to make the most of the extraordinary opportunities ahead”. In many cases, he confirmed that this will result in the closure of Labs experiments, while in other cases Labs products and technologies will be incorporated into other product areas.

He also said that many Labs products that are Android apps will continue to be available on Android Market. Coughran was also keen to clarify that this decision doesn’t mean the end of experimentation at Google, stating: “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.”

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