Google Labs on the way out, though Google’s 20% time will remain intact

Sun, Jul 24, 2011


Google Labs for some time now has been an interesting place to see what type of side projects Googlers were up to. But in an effort to focus more on delivering finished made products, Google announced earlier this week that they’re shutting down Google Labs.

In many cases, this will mean ending Labs experiments—in others we’ll incorporate Labs products and technologies into different product areas. And many of the Labs products that are Android apps today will continue to be available on Android Market. We’ll update you on our progress via the Google Labs website.

We’ll continue to push speed and innovation—the driving forces behind Google Labs—across all our products, as the early launch of the Google+ field trial last month showed.

So does this spell the end for Google’s famed 20% time, whereby employees could devote 20% of the work week to any type of project they wanted?

Not quite.

Google recently told TechCrunch that the company has no plans to axe its 20% program, thought it remains to be seen where all of those 20% projects will go now that Labs is being sent out to the pasture. One thing we can’t discount, though, has been the effectiveness of Google’s 20% projects, which helped borne ideas like Google News and Google Maps.

As an aside, it’s not uncommon to hear Googler’s refer to 20% time as 120% time, meaning that folks at Google spend an additional 20% of their work week working on side projects rather than working with a 80/20 split.


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