Google Labs speeds up new product releases

April 21, 2009

Google wants to put its products in people’s hands sooner, even if they’re not fully baked.

The company unveiled a pair of interesting new products on Monday that promise new ways to search for photographs online and to view graphical representations of information over specific periods of time.

The products, dubbed Image Search and Google News Timeline, are still not 100 percent polished and are limited in their capabilities – and that’s exactly the idea, says Google.

It’s part of a new effort by Google Labs to accelerate the release of its home-cooked creations to the public.

Google is famous for giving its employees 20 percent of their time to tinker on pet projects that could turn into the next hit product like Google Maps or Google Trends.

R.J. Pittman, Google’s director of product management in search properties, says the company wants to increase public awareness about all the cool technology in the works. And by releasing the latest products to the outside world sooner and more frequently, Google hopes to collect important user feedback to improve and refine the products.

A new version of the Google Labs website launched on Monday allows Web surfers to interact with some of the Google engineers developing the new products, by posting suggestions, questions, gripes and other comments.

The news comes as Google continues to focus on controlling costs in the tough economy.

Google has said it will continue to invest in innovation. The latest Google Labs initiative suggests the company doesn’t want to let any of that investment sit fallow for too long.

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