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Google Labs To Be Shuttered, Though Gmail Labs Not Affected

Google Labs

The Huffington Post   First Posted: 07/20/11 11:25 PM ET Updated: 09/19/11 06:12 AM ET

In an effort to "prioritize [its] product efforts," Google announced in a blog post on Wednesday that it will "wind down" Google Labs, the company's incubator for experimental features and products.

"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," Google said in a blog post.

The post links to notes from Larry Page's remarks on last week's earnings call, where the Google co-founder and new CEO said, "Greater focus has also been another big feature for me this quarter -- more wood behind fewer arrows."

Google describes Labs 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."

Labs within Google Maps and Gmail will not be affected, the company said in an afternoon update to its blog post, so those afraid of losing popular Gmail Labs features like Multiple Inboxes and Undo Send need not worry. "We'll continue to experiment with new features in each of our products," Google said.

Products like Google Alerts, Google Maps, Google Reader and Google Docs all began in Labs and have, in Google-speak, "graduated" to become mainstream features.

Other products, like Google Listen and Google Squared remain in Labs.

Google said in the announcement that some of the experiments in Labs will end while others will live on in other technologies and products.

Page said last week that Google has "done substantial internal work simplifying and streamlining our product lines," and TechCrunch's Alexia Tsotsis writes that closing Labs is "yet another step towards a more focused, streamlined Google."

Google announced in June that it would close Google PowerMeter and Google Health.

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