Google gets serious: Winds down Google Labs

Google CEO Larry Page said he wanted more wood behind fewer arrows and he wasn't kidding. Google will shut down Google Labs in the strongest signal yet that the company is focusing on fewer projects designed to create the biggest financial benefits.

Google CEO Larry Page said he wanted more wood behind fewer arrows and he wasn't kidding. Google will shut down Google Labs in the strongest signal yet that the company is focusing on fewer projects designed to create the biggest financial benefits.

In a blog post, Google said that it was prioritizing projects and winding down Google Labs. The company said:

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.

Although Google Labs had a few interesting projects---Google Body, Google Groups, Google Maps and Google Reader---the move may make business sense. However, there was a vibe that you could do almost anything at Google. More focus appears to mean that play time is over.

Page acknowledged Google's need to focus last week after a strong second quarter. He said:

Overall, we are focused on long-term, absolute profit and growth, as we have always been. And I will continue the tight financial management we have had in the last two years, even as we are making significant investments in our future...It’s easy to focus on things that we do that are speculative, e.g., driverless cars. But we spend the vast majority of our resources on the core products. We may have a few small speculative projects happening at any given time, but we are very careful stewards of shareholder money. We are not betting the farm on this stuff.

Related: Google's Page delivers solid performance; Balances new products, discipline

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