That news prompted fear and news reports that popular "experimental" features in Gmail and other products would also be killed.
Heavy users of Gmail -- including me -- have come to rely on Labs features such as "Undo," which gives you a few seconds after hitting send to revoke the command, to the extent they now feel like permanent features.
But Google spokesman Jason Freidenfelds tells Wired.com that the Labs in products such as Gmail and Maps aren't scheduled to be eliminated in the new push to narrow the search and advertising giant's focus.
(The blog post announcing the Labs closure was entitled "More Wood Behind Fewer Arrows.")
"We don't have any plans to change in-product experimentation channels like Gmail Labs or Maps Labs," Freidenfelds said. "We'll continue to experiment with new features in each of our products."
However, a number of software projects in Google Labs proper will be retired, and some will graduate to full feature/product status, according to the Google blog post.
Google also says most of the labs products that have become Android apps -- Google Googles, for one -- will continue to be available on Android Market. As for the timing of those changes?
"We don't have specifics to share yet, but we'll be updating our users as we go on the Google Labs site," Freidenfelds said.
So if there are Labs project you like: say something like Google Swiffy, which converts Flash file to HTML5, or the whiz-bang 3D Google Body, get as much use out of them as you can now and pray they are allowed to graduate.
As for why Google Labs is getting shut down, Freidenfelds suggested paying a little attention to CEO Larry Page's comments in the company's recent earnings call about focusing resources:
"Greater focus has also been another big feature for me this quarter -- more wood behind fewer arrows. Last month, for example, we announced that we will be closing Google Health and Google PowerMeter.
"We've also done substantial internal work simplifying and streamlining our product lines. While much of that work has not yet become visible externally, I am very happy with our progress here.
"Focus and prioritization are crucial given our amazing opportunities. Indeed I see more opportunities for Google today than ever before. Because believe it or not we are still in the very early stages of what we want to do."
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