From an Innovation Perspective, Shutting Down Google Labs Doesn't Make Sense
Google Labs is a valuable connection between the company and the users. As I say in my forthcoming book, The Plugged-In Manager:
While the Lockheed Skunk Works and Apple are known for their secrecy, many organizations now open up their research and development processes so that outsiders can participate. This is more than “open innovation,” wherein organizations are willing to look for innovation to buy or license from other organizations. This is public, interactive innovation with an open community of users and other interested participants.I list Google Labs and six other sites in that section, including Ideo Labs and the PARC Living Laboratory. These organizations have created settings where they can get user feedback from quick and dirty products. These labs are conduits for testing MVPs -- Minimum Viable Products. Shutting down this conduit (original blog post announcing shutdown) limits the organization's ability to get this quick feedback and I can't figure out why Google is going in this direction. Many tech pundits are similarly wondering about the logic behind this move.
- Stacey Higginbotham: “..there are some real productivity enhancing items out there such as the ones I mentioned above or Correlate, which helps connect search trends to real-world data and events. Google didn’t give a lot of detail in its blog post, and I’ve reached out to the company for comment and will update the post when I learn more.”
- John C. Dvorak: "I suspect that within the labs there is something so important that the company has to bring down the whole operation to avoid drawing attention to that one program. It's the only rationale that I can imagine for shutting down the labs website. I'm sorry, I just cannot think of any other reason."
- Ben Parr: “Google may be encouraging its employees to put their extra energy into projects like Google+, rather than creating tangential products. The search giant may also have simply decided that it didn’t need a central place for its experiments."