It has been nine years since Google debuted its experimental website where it dumped prototype products for netizens to play with. But the company has now announced the end-of-the-line for its Labs project.
The ad broker's CEO Larry Page hinted last week that he would slash and burn (or, in his words, "simplify and streamline") Google's product lines.
In effect, the firm is heavily pushing its Google+ social network effort by re-decorating its online estate with what it hopes will be a strong corporate splash of paint across its products.
Labs clearly doesn't slot into that business model. Arguably, Google is suddenly being more protective of its early test-bed set of products.
It has also recently changed tack with early builds of its products. Both the failed Google Wave and the supposedly more successful Google+ didn't land in Labs first.
Instead, the company marketed Wave and Google+ as invitation-only products, thereby creating superfluous interest in the products.
Ultimately that move didn't work on Wave, but early signs suggest the gambit is paying off with Google+.
"Last week we explained that we’re prioritizing our product efforts. As part of that process, we’ve decided to wind down Google Labs," said the firm's research veep Bill Coughran in a blog post yesterday.
"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."
He said many Labs experiments would be killed, but added that others would be slotted into different product areas. And the likes of Gmail Labs and Maps Labs have survived the cull, which Coughran described as "in-product experimentation channels". ®