It seems clear what's on the mind of the head honchos at Google: social networking.
Google is putting all its might behind Google + ahead of its public release and so have decided to embark on a downsizing project, or as the company blog calls it, "a fall spring clean".
This "spring clean" involves shutting down all operations included in its Google Labs project. Among the products that Google has decided to sweep up and clear out are a number of what were independent start-ups that include: Aardvark, Desktop, Google Pack, Google Web Security, Image Labeler, Notebook, Sidewiki and Subscribed Links.
Fast Flip, the news reading service that aimed to simulate the flip-through experience of print publishing is amongst the services to go. The 'flip' concept means content is curated into manageable chunks for readers to easily digest, as opposed to the unending scrolling of the web which displays information in a constant stream on one page. This is exactly the kind of consumer experience digital publishers are attempting to create in tablet format.
As PaidContent points out, publishers and news organisations alike have not exactly been the best of friends with Google, some often accusing the tech giant of contributing to the difficulty of monetizing online content. Fast Flip, along with other initiatives like OnePass, offered Google a counter argument to this allegation. Whether this closure will affect the company's relationship with news organisations remains to be seen.
Google is not necessarily loosing any of the innovations that these lab experiments offered and will continue to invest in research and development. Many of the features that these soon-to-be-extinct products provide will be integrated into Google's other services, for instance features from Aardvark, a social search program that allowed users ask questions of each other and receive answers from other users, might be incorporated into Google+ in the future.