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Google to Wind Down Google Labs for Early-Stage Products

Google to Wind Down Google Labs for Early-Stage Products
Some Google Labs experiments will end and others will be incorporated into different products. Photographer: Loic Venance/AFP/Getty Images

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

Some Google Labs experiments will end and others will be incorporated into different products, Bill Coughran, senior vice president for research and systems infrastructure, said in a blog post on the company’s site. Many of the Labs products that are applications for the mobile Android software will continue to be available, he said.

Co-founder Larry Page, who became chief executive officer in April, 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 to Facebook Inc.’s social-media site, 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 will be what get served,” Whit Andrews, an analyst with Gartner Inc., said of the closing of Google Labs. “This makes Google address innovation in a different way. It means that it will 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 percent, to $595.35 at 4 p.m. New York time on the Nasdaq Stock Market. The shares are little changed this year.

“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,” Coughran said. “We’ll continue to push speed and innovation -- the driving forces behind Google Labs -- across all our products.”

-- Editors: Cecile Daurat, Niamh Ring

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