Goodbye, Google Labs

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Google has announced that it will “wind down” Google Labs. This is disappointing given the power of these tools for teaching and research, not to mention that using these applications is just plain fun.

I hope that Mr. Coughran at Google honors his statement that “we’ll incorporate Labs products and technologies into different product areas.” It is particularly important that these applications be available freely to the public.

From PC World:

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, like Google Health and Google PowerMeter, shut down in late June.

Here’s the statement from Google:

More wood behind fewer arrows

7/20/2011 12:03:00 PM

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.

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. We’ll update you on our progress via the Google Labs website.

We’ll continue to push speed and innovation–the driving forces behind Google Labs–across all our products, as the early launch of the Google+ field trial last month showed.

Update 3:36pm: To clarify: 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.

Posted by Bill Coughran, SVP for Research and Systems Infrastructure

The Labs favorites are:

1. Google Body

Google Body is a detailed 3D model of the human body. You can peel back anatomical layers, zoom in, and navigate to parts that interest you. Click to identify anatomy, or search for muscles, organs, bones and more.

2. Google Books Ngram Viewer

See how often phrases have occurred in the world’s books over the years.

3. Google Scribe

Write high-quality documents quickly. Supports text completion, correction, automatic link text and faster formatting features.

Comments

  1. #1 Bob O`Bob
    July 21, 2011

    I almost think of this as comparable to Xerox shutting down PARC before many of the famous ideas emerged. If inventors don’t spend time with PLAY, a great deal of opportunity can be missed.