R.I.P., Google Labs
The company shutters its experimental playgroundBy: Shareen Pathak, Published: Jul 21, 2011
Google Labs, the company's experimental playground that gave birth to many cool new apps and projects like Goggles, Reader, Docs and Art Project, is closing its doors. Google announced on its blog that it would shut down the venture as its tries to focus more on existing products and prioritize its assets.
"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, a senior vice president for research and systems infrastructure in a statement on the Google blog.
However, Lab products that are already in place in Gmail or available on the Android market will continue to work. Some of these have caught on quickly, such as the "Undo" feature in Gmail that allows users to retract an email seconds after it has been sent. Goggles too, will continue to be available on the Android market. Some Google mainstays like Maps, Trends and Docs all came out of Labs.
Some experiments -- the blog post didn't detail which ones -- will be retired permanently, while some will be incorporated into full products. In recent months, Labs has come out with Swiffy, which converts Flash files for use on Apple devices and Scribe, for document creation.Check out some of the experiments created out of Labs:
Google Art Project takes online visitors virtually through 17 different museums, like the Tate Britain, Amsterdam's Van Gogh Museum, New York's MoMA and The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.
Google Goggles allows users to take images with their smartphones to access another layer of info about the subjects. The Getty Museum in Los Angeles recently leveraged the technology to provide more info about its premanent collection to visitors. Goggles was also applied to a marketing experiment featuring brands like T-Mobile, Disney and Diageo.