Gmail labs are not going away!
The announcement yesterday to retire Google Labs is only
- not for labs inside Gmail. So, breathe normal, nothing to fear.
Although labs in Gmail have similar challenges to Google labs:
- many of the labs are over a year old. On one side, users start rely on them. On the other side, they aren't part of our normal QA. And when something breaks, we are often scrambling to get it fixed as the original author often left Gmail or even Google.
- the labs page itself has become just another settings page - with a very bad UI
Take our upcoming UI refresh: some labs will just look bad, but at least work. Some labs will probably stop working.
We want to preserve the opportunity for our engineers to try out (sometimes whacky) new ideas without the overhead of a full launch. But we have to balance that against the tax on our development team and the user experience.
One idea we are kicking around is to give labs a certain amount of time after which we either have to graduate the lab to a fully supported feature or to retire it. Based on usage, user feedback ...
What are your thoughts on this? Do you use Gmail labs?