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Google Labs Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is Google Labs?
  2. What should I expect from experiments in Labs?
  3. Why is Google using googlelabs.com?
  4. Who builds these things, anyway?
  5. What will happen to these experiments over time?
  6. Why in the world did Google decide to do this?
  7. What happened to that cool thing I was playing around with last week?
  8. I know how to make one of the experiments really useful. Whom do I contact?
  9. Why isn't my favorite experiment available in my language?

  1. What is Google Labs?

    Google Labs is a playground where our more adventurous users can play around with prototypes of some of our wild and crazy ideas and offer feedback directly to the engineers who developed them. Please note that Labs is the first phase in a lengthy product development process and none of this stuff is guaranteed to make it onto Google.com. While some of our crazy ideas might grow into the next Gmail or iGoogle, others might turn out to be, well, just plain crazy.

  2. What should I expect from experiments in Labs?

    At Google, we believe in launching early and often and Labs takes that philosophy to the max. The projects in Labs are intended to showcase some of our cool and wacky ideas but are not intended to be full-blown Google products. Labs experiments may be unavailable or be even removed without notice and you may not be able to access any of your data. We recommend that you not use sensitive information in a Labs experiment.

    Google Labs is our playground. We try to keep is safe and orderly, but still keep it informal and, above all, fun.

  3. Why is Google using googlelabs.com?

    We chose to isolate Labs on a separate site at googlelabs.com to make sure none of the bubbling test tubes we created actually overflowed onto the rest of Google. If we do spill something, we'd rather just have to clean up the lab.

  4. Who builds these things, anyway?

    Google engineers and researchers do. Because many of these projects are supported only in their spare time, we ask for your indulgence if a demo refuses to run, or even walk quickly. In fact, every once in a while some of these demos may crash. If they do, we'll pick them up, dust them off, and try to send them back out into the playground as quickly as possible.

  5. What will happen to these experiments over time?

    That depends in part on you. Your comments and feedback can elevate a project to consideration for integration into Google.com — or cause it to disappear and never be spoken of again.

  6. Why in the world did Google decide to do this?

    Google engineers and researchers are always looking for a way to show off their pet projects, and Google Labs seemed like a great way for them to get feedback without forcing every new feature on all of our users. So, please follow the "Details and Feedback" link under each experiment and post a comment to let them know what you think of how they're been spending their time — and be frank. It doesn't help anyone if a bad idea is encouraged to spread like a noxious weed.

  7. What happened to that cool thing I was playing around with last week?

    The prototypes on Google Labs are meant to be low-maintenance experiments. If one disappears it may be because no one was interested enough to use it, or because it wasn't stable enough for users to try it out, or because it was so wildly successful that heavy usage brought the server to its knees. Don't worry — while that particular application may not reappear, there will be something just as interesting to replace it shortly.

  8. I know how to make one of the experiments really useful. Whom do I contact?

    If you have something to say about a Google Labs product, we can't encourage you strongly enough to comment on the experiment and let us know at google-labs-support@google.com. Your feedback on these prototypes is an essential part of the development process and is greatly appreciated.

  9. Why isn't my favorite experiment available in my language?

    Experiments in Labs are often developed by one or two engineers working independently, using few resources, to bring their ideas to life quickly. We translate the name and description of each experiment into many languages, but translating the experiments themselves is a more involved process. During the experimental phase, we want engineers to concentrate on their ideas. However, some experiments may be specially tailored for specific languages, and some engineers may choose to translate their experiments early.