Google Rounds Some Corners of its Cutting Edge

Everyone’s fav poster child for innovation, Google,  just got a lot less innovative with the announcement that it’s killing Google Labs. As Darth Vader once aptly put it: “Noooooo!”

Yes folks, first Yahoo axed (well, sold off) Delicious and other funky-yet-profitless pursuits  and now Google has given up on its always playful, always interesting sandbox. What’s next? Will Wonka sell off his oompa loompas and the chocolate waterfall?

I have to say, this seems like an odd call by Google’s new CEO, given the comfortable lead the company has over its rivals, and the effectiveness its business models have so far had in taking on its largest rivals. You’d think if ain’t broke, you wouldn’t fix it.

Anyway, I suppose sooner or later the child-like energy of a company always much grow conservative and cautious, so perhaps this is what is happening. I know from my own experiences in the tech industry that conservative tech companies (usually those that cut their teeth selling wares to two kinds of customers: G-men and Salarymen), have a real hard time keeping up with the upstart innovators biting their ankles. And from time to time, they trip and are quickly devoured by them.

Might this be that moment where Google loses its cool and sets out on the long, boring road of corporate conventionalism? Will the darling of developers everywhere start wearing a (gulp!) tie?

Another Vader Quote: “This will be a day long remembered.”

More at CMS Watch:

Google Kills Labs in Favor of “Extraordinary Opportunities”.

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One thought on “Google Rounds Some Corners of its Cutting Edge

  1. What with the history of even stable mature production Google products being called ‘beta’, on top of things staying in Labs forever too (which I’m not sure what the relation is to whether it’s called ‘beta’) — its’ very difficult to tell what Google products are supported at what level, or what Google products could disappear at any time.

    Yeah, there’s no contract, ANY google product can disappear at any time, true. But there were lots of people very unhappy (and put in difficult situations) by the recent Google API die off (http://googlecode.blogspot.com/2011/05/spring-cleaning-for-some-of-our-apis.html)

    Of course I’m not even sure if those products were in Labs or not.

    But I think part of good customer service and keeping customers happy when you get as large and mature as Google, is being clear about the maturity level of products and the expected lifespan of products, as well as putting resources into making the ones that are supposed to be mature ACTUALLY mature and long-lasting. If getting rid of Labs results in putting more resources into supporting/maintaining the ‘real’ products, and more clarity about when a product is ‘real’/mature/non-beta/non-experimental (are they all such with no more Labs, or are they are still ‘beta’?), that wouldn’t neccesarily be a bad thing. People rely on this stuff.

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