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Thursday, 21 July 2011

Google Shuts Down Experiments to Face Google+

Google will shut down Google Labs, its testing ground for new and niche ideas, as it aims to focus on its profitable and mainstream products.

Pitched as “a playground where our more adventurous users can play around with prototypes of some of our wild and crazy ideas”, Google Labs will now be wound down, with projects “in many cases” shut down.

“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,” said Bill Coughran of Google.

While some ideas on Google Labs, such as a service to “see how often phrases have occurred in the world's books over the years” are clearly not destined for mainstream use, it has acted as a nursery for some major successes over the years. Google News, Google Reader and Google Maps were all launched on Google Labs.

Its closure does not mean Google will completely abandon its experimental culture, however. Experimental features on mainstream products such as City Tours on Google Maps will remain available and under development.

The decision follows Google’s earnings call last week, during which its new chief executive Larry Page said the firm he co-founded in 1998 needed “more wood behind fewer arrows”.

The closure of Google Labs is the first evidence of the new focus since Mr Page’s statement, but earlier this year Google also shut Google Health and Google PowerMeter, its failed attempts to enter the medical records and smart energy metering markets.

Among the firm’s top priorities now is its response to the threat from Facebook and Twitter, which are taking up more and more of web users’ time. Google is now investing heavily in Google+, its second attempt at creating a rival social network following the botched launch of Buzz last year.

Mr Page said last week that 10 million people had joined since the service’s invitation-only launch last month.

source: Telegraph

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