Monday, July 25, 2011

Labs Go Dark as Google Puts Away Childish Things

In a continuing effort to streamline product development, Google announced Wednesday the company will be shutting down its Google Labs project.

The Google Labs initiative was the tech giant's testing facility, where employees and engineers were given creative freedom to tinker with experimental projects that perhaps didn't necessarily fall within their job descriptions. The emphasis on encouraging innovation and imagination was seen as one of the core elements that separated Google from competitors.

Labs was the birthplace of popular products that are now mainstays of the company, such as Gmail, Google Maps, Google Reader, Google Docs and some Android apps. But for all its success stories, Google Labs had its fair share of flops, and the company now believes prioritizing its development efforts is the best strategy going forward.

Greater focus will be necessary in order to capitalize on upcoming opportunities, according to Bill Coughran, senior vice president for research and systems infrastructure at Google.

Many projects that have stemmed from Labs that are now solidly in place, such as Gmail, will continue in their current capacity, Coughran emphasized in a company blog post. Now, he pointed out, much of the development in Labs is devoted to apps for the Android platform, and those will continue to be available in the separate Android Market.


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