Google has announced that it will shutter Google Labs, the site that it uses to test new and experimental products. Speaking via the Google Blog, Bill Coughran, Senior VP for Research and Systems Infrastructure at Google, explained that the decision would allow Google to make the most of upcoming "extraordinary opportunities".
"Last week we explained that we’re prioritizing our product efforts. As part of that process, we’ve decided to wind down Google Labs. 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."
Larry Page last week mentioned that Google is trying to prioritize its focus with a 'more wood behind fewer arrows' approach and referenced the shutting down of Google Health and Google PowerMeter as an example of this. However, not all Labs projects will disappear. Google says that, while it will mean the end of many Labs projects, other Labs products and technologies will be incorporated into different product areas and many of the Labs products that are Android apps will continue to be available on Android Market.
Those of you that like to tinker with new features and tools in Gmail Labs or Maps Labs shouldn't panic. Coughran updated his post several hours later to say that the decision won't change in-product experimentation channels.
"To clarify: we don't have any plans to change in-product experimentation channels like Gmail Labs or Maps Labs. We'll continue to experiment with new features in each of our products."
Keep on eye on the Google Labs website for more information.