Google announced Wednesday it will be shutting down Google Labs, the breeding ground for many of Google’s most popular user tools, reports the International Business Times
Google Labs is a forum through which interested users can access and test prototypes of Google user tools still in the works. Users can then comment and offer feedback directly to Google engineers. This user playground has led to the creation of such user tools as Google Maps, Video, Reader, Trends, and Docs.
“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,” Bill Coughran, Senior Vice President for Research and Systems Infrastructure, said.
According to Bloomberg, Google CEO Larry Page is shutting down Labs as part of a larger effort to increase efficiency in the product development process and break further into the social and e-commerce markets.
Critics are concerned that shutting down Google Labs is an abandonment of the company’s commitment to encourage user and employee innovation. Releasing products early to allow for direct feedback to refine the end-product was part of Google’s development strategy.
But, Coughran’s announcement expressed confidence in this business move. “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.”
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