As announced earlier this year, Google's experimental site Google Labs has shut down today. This seems to be a product of increasing streamlining going on over at the Googleplex, although it seems rather sad to see it go.
A screenshot of the page prior to closure shows that most of the projects within Google Labs are also closing. The exceptions seem to mostly be Android Apps which remain on the market:
While many of Google's side projects and experiments were not resounding successes commercially or particularly popular, it was nice to see a spirit of innovation at Google - and one with a public face. Experiments like Google Sets (building lists of related items) also helped to give glimpses of the types of directions Google were going in.
It seems that Google is continuing to "tighten up" commercially, in addition to stepping up against the huge threat of more "social" websites, that, even with the advent of Google+ has never really been Google's forte. But let's hope that the Labs closure does not represent the end of Google's attempts to break new ground - without necessarily needing a commercial angle first.
So, a fond farewell to Google Labs, and a tip of the hat to all those Googlers involved in building the projects there.
Our own labs site, of course, will be remaining online ;)