Google Labs To Be Closed As Larry Page’s Product Streamlining Continues

google-g-logoIs there any doubt that things at Google have changed under new CEO Larry Page? Today the company has announced the impending closure of Google Labs, its experimental playground where many popular Google products were born.

In its announcement, Google says the decision to shut down Google Labs is part of its new focus on product efforts:

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.

The announcement is extremely light on specifics — no date is given for the shutdown, and little is revealed about what will happen to specific projects that are currently in Google Labs.

In many cases, this will mean ending Labs experiments — in others we’ll incorporate Labs products and technologies into different product areas. And many of the Labs products that are Android apps today will continue to be available on Android Market.

Several well-known Google products are still in Labs, such as Google Correlate and Google Squared. Others have graduated from Labs to be important parts of the Google search experience — personalized search comes to mind as one example. Google News “fast flip” was also a Labs experiment.

A Google spokesperson was unable to share any news on specific Labs projects, but told us via email that specific product labs won’t be affected by the shutdown:

There won’t be any immediate changes to in-product experimental channels like Gmail Labs or Maps Labs. We’ll continue to experiment with new features in each of our products, even as we move to retire the Labs name.

In his recent statements during Google’s earnings call, Page talked about the company’s focus on streamlining product offerings:

Greater focus has also been another big feature for me this quarter–more wood behind fewer arrows

Last month, for example, we announced that we will be closing Google Health and Google PowerMeter

We’ve also done substantial internal work simplifying and streamlining our product lines

While much of that work has not yet become visible externally, I am very happy with our progress here

Focus and prioritization are crucial given our amazing opportunities

Google’s announcement invites users to keep an eye on GoogleLabs.com for future updates about today’s news.

Related Topics: Channel: Other | Google: Labs | Top News

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About The Author: is Editor-In-Chief of Search Engine Land. His news career includes time spent in TV, radio, and print journalism. His web career continues to include a small number of SEO and social media consulting clients, as well as regular speaking engagements at marketing events around the U.S. He recently launched a site dedicated to Google Glass called Glass Almanac and also blogs at Small Business Search Marketing. Matt can be found on Twitter at @MattMcGee and/or on Google Plus. You can read Matt's disclosures on his personal blog.

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  • http://pgabor.com GaborPor

    My favorite Labs product was Google Alerts, that fortunately “graduated”, although it is still marked as beta, after 7 years of existence. I don’t doubt that Google will keep innovate and come up with new products, but guess that future testing will be more internal or limited to a smaller circle of people. Other products that started in the lab and I use them every day now include Google Docs and Reader.

  • http://www.DSquared-Media.com dondevange

    Fusion tables was a great tool. I’ll be sad to see it go.

  • http://IMpopstar.com Lou Woo

    Google Alerts was pretty innovative for Google but in general they take other companies’ ideas and bring out their own version, or in the case of YouTube, they buy up an excellent resource and then ruin it with advertising.

  • Ian Williams

    The Apple-ification of Google continues…

  • Antoine Cénec

    Such a shame, labs were a really good playground for innovative ideas !

  • http://www.irisreading.com Paul Nowak

    I can’t believe Google is closing down Labs. I used to love using one of their apps, Google Fast Flip. I teach speed reading classes and used to recommend that people use Fast Flip as a great way to consume content online. Now that it’s gone, I’m planning to create an app that will do something similar with improvements.

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