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.
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.