Google Focusing In, Retiring Labs & Other Projects

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There’s little doubt that Google has long employed a “strategy of everything,” attempting to be all things to all people – at least on the internet. However, Larry Page (co-founder and, since April, CEO) has spearheaded a new tactic of increased focus and more concrete prioritization. As part of that effort, many Google projects have been retired. The newest casualty is Google Labs.

The Retirement of Google Labs

Google Labs, a site that demonstrates new Google project ideas (and works as the first beta/vetting opportunity), has been a major part of Google since 2006. However, this product is being retired alongside a large number of APIs and several additional side-projects. “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,” explained Bill Coughran, Google’s SVP for Research and Systems Infrastructure.

The labs won’t all disappear (although, yes, many will). As stated by Coughran, for some labs “we’ll incorporate Labs products and technologies into different product areas.” Additionally, several mobile labs will continue to be available for download on the Android market.

Page’s Focus

Larry Page commented on the company’s new, more focused strategy. “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,” he stated. “Indeed, I see more opportunities for Google today than ever before.”

Part of the prioritization process involved shutting down services like Google Health, Google PowerMeter, and a long lineup of APIs. The remaining products are being streamlined and simplified, according to Page. Certainly the release of Google+ has shown a lot more branding unity and cross-integration, and if Page’s remarks and the current trends are any indication, we can expect a lot more of this in the future.

[Sources include: Larry PageThe Official Google Blog]


Rob D Young
Rob has been insatiably obsessed with Google, search engine technology, and the trends of the web-based world since he began life as a webmaster in... Read Full Bio
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  • I think it was a good decision for Google to put Google labs to rest because no one really used it anyways

  • The real new Google strategy in place is more into “product management focus” – 
    Speaking on a conference call with analysts, Larry Page, Google’s CEO, revealed it had enjoyed a record-breaking last quarter in revenue terms, up 32% year on year to $9bn overall.

    After assuming the position of chief executive in April, Page ensured key senior staff members, like Susan Wojcicki, SVP for advertising, and Vic Gundotra, SVP for engineering, began reporting to him directly.
    Larry Page said:”We have much more of a product focused structure now, which I am very excited about,” he said. “We always change how we are running the company over time.”More specifically, Page suggested the ambition was for Google’s range of services to play an increasingly integral role in the lives of users.”We want … [to] make products that everybody uses twice a day, like their toothbrush,” he said.”We’re definitely working hard to integrate our products better, to make the user experience simpler, intuitive, and beautiful, and consistent.”

    Reference – warc – Google becomes “product focused”

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  • This is quite sad!

  • While it’s sad to see Google Labs go, it’s nice to see Google focusing in on their markets at bit more.