Totally dismayed, shocked and cannot believe it but well there it is http://www.sdtimes.com/blog/post/2011/07/20/Google-Shutting-Down-Labs.aspx
I put a comment there, but figured that I would expound on that in greater detail here where I have full control.
Google has started facing the pressures of Wall Street and Corporate America and want to look like they have grown up, seemingly forgetting their roots. The things that have made Google what it is are the clear separation of innovation, disruption and engaging the end user in their development and testing processes. I have used many a Gmail labs feature, and enjoyed doing so despite the “risks” that it may not work, but the key idea is that u get the feature you need when u need it. Even if its buggy, and does not work most of the time. The 80/20 rule applies here
Look at what happened to HP during the early 90’s when they were running head to head with Compaq, Digital, IBM, Sun, those were the days when u had to watch what was coming out of their labs, adaptive interfaces, neural networks, the stuff was just mind boggling but exciting, how they are just a glorified computer supermarket.
Dell the baby of direct sales, made a few missteps, but is now back. They had dropped R&D into how to make their products work together, look at them now growing data center market share, they have found their mojo.
IBM the king of the hill, (King of the Lab like Dr. Hoggins in Bones says), spends billions in research and innovations, with dedicated research labs all over the world, thats one place I would love to work BTW, and are now way ahead of the pack, Smarter planet (www.ibm.com/smarterplanet/us/en) . Microsoft has just opened up a Garage to tickle innovation.
Well wish em the best, the bigger u grow, the harder u fall ….
We have a saying, always remember where u came from, because it will always provide you with a compass to where you are going ….