This morning greeted me with a new headline “Google Labs to shutdown” ! I couldn’t believe it. It took me to navigate via Google and not Bing (personal Google loyalty) to authenticate that – yes, Google Labs is shutting down today.
It was this house that gave birth to interesting and user-friendly products and features like iGoogle, Google Maps, Personalized Search, Google Docs, Google Reader and Google Groups.
While Microsoft has Microsoft Research, Google had Google Labs. Personally, after the Chromebook, I was expecting a tablet purely from Google, just like the Apple iPad and Microsoft one (yet to come). And Google Labs was ‘the’ place for its birth. But looks like Google has something else on its mind.
It wants to make the most of its existing ‘extraordinary’ products by focusing more on its core stuff like Google Search, AdSense, YouTube, Google Chrome, Android, the new Google+, et al. The shutting down of Labs does not necessarily mean that projects it housed will be disappearing. Google announced that some projects will live on by being absorbed by other parts of the company. But for many Lab experiments, it’s the end. There’s been no indication yet as to which Labs experiments will remain and which will perish.
According to Bill Coughran, a senior vice president with Google, “Last week we explained that we’re prioritizing our product efforts. As part of that process, we’ve decided to wind down Google Labs. 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.”