Google set to wind down Google Labs


Google Inc, owner of the world's most popular search engine, plans to wind down the website through which it let users explore early product prototypes to help better prioritise development of the new services.


Some Google Labs experiments would end and others would be incorporated into different products, Bill Coughran , senior vise-president for research and systems infrastructure, said in a blog post on the company's site. Many labs products that are applications for the mobile Android software would continued to be available.


Co-founder, Larry Page, is trying to make product development more efficient to tap opportunities in the mobile, social and e-commerce markets. Last month, he introduced Google+, a rival of Facebook, while retiring Google Health, which helped users manage health information, and Google PowerMeter, which gave consumers simple access to their energy use. 


"This is sending a message to investors and consumers that Google has core businesses, and those would be what get served," Whit Andrews, an analyst with Gratner Inc, said of the closing of Google Labs. "This makes Google address innovation in a different way. It means that it would be less likely that you'll create something cool and see how it works. This means we need a business goal and a business direction."


Google, based in Mountain View, California, fell $7.20, or 1.2 per cent, to $595.35 on the Nasdaq. The shares are little changed this year.


"While we have learned a huge amount by launching very early prototypes in Labs. We believe greater focus is crucial if we're to make the most of the extraordinary opportunities ahead," Coughran said. "We will continue to push speed and innovation-the driving forces behind Google Labs-across all our products."