Today was a sad day for the adventurous, as the great Google announced the closing of its Labs department -- birthing place of the likes of Reader and Public Data Explorer -- in an effort to focus more on its core products.
What About all the Neat Stuff?
Cue widespread panic over Gmail inboxes!
Since the announcement, a handful of Google's representatives have reported that Gmail Labs, Calendar Labs and other Labs will not be getting axed-- just the general experimental playground found at googlelabs.com.
What this means for now is that some projects and experiments will be terminated immediately, while others will be folded into other Google product areas.
The official Google blog post on the matter went like this:
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.
We’ll continue to push speed and innovation—the driving forces behind Google Labs—across all our products, as the early launch of the Google+ field trial last month showed.
In many cases, this will mean ending Labs experiments—in others we’ll incorporate Labs products and technologies into different product areas. And many of the Labs products that are Android apps today will continue to be available on Android Market. We’ll update you on our progress via the Google Labs website.
While there's no telling which projects will ultimately bite the bullet, it's probably safe to assume it will be those that have received little to no attention since their release. For instance, the Internet giant recently killed off Google Health, a personal health records service, as well as Google PowerMeter, a service for monitoring Web-based home energy use.
Understandably, the news hasn't been met by consumers without a tinge of sadness. As Stacey Higginbotham of GigaOm noted, many Googlers are frustrated with the lack of information (which features we’ll lose and when). "If I knew what was going away, and when, I could start researching for alternatives. Or maybe a kindly startup could volunteer to take the feature out of Google’s hands and support it," she wrote.
Meanwhile, others support the giant's decision to reduce expectations for non-stop innovation and magicked-up virtual spaces. Doing so will free up essential time for focusing attention on core products, or heavy new comers like Google+.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments below, as well as what you'll miss -- if anything -- now that Labs is dunzo.