Google has decided to close down Google Labs, a public prototype testing ground. Projects which have ‘graduated’ from Google Labs over the past years include Google Maps, Google Docs, Google Trends and Google Reader which all have become standard Google products though Google said in a blog post that “we’ll continue to push speed and innovation—the driving forces behind Google Labs—across all our products.”
Google’s current lab projects are likely to be integrated into current services. However, where services such as Aardvark (a question and answer service purchased by Google) will go is still an open question. Whether these types of services eventually become part of Google+ is unknown, though there is some speculation that Aardvark will become part of a social Q&A feature for Google+.
The closure will not effect Gmail and Google Maps Labs which are run separately or the famous 20% time policy which lets Google staff spend 20% of their time on other projects. It is likely that innovative 20% projects will stay away from the public eye until a stable release or are created for current Google products.