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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Graduates of Labs: Google Reader and GOOG-411
By Tony Ruscoe

Two months ago, Ionut Alex. Chitu posted a comment in the forum saying that Google Reader was listed in the Graduates of Labs section of Google Labs. Today, the Google Reader Blog makes it official in a comical break-up letter:

Dear “Labs”,

We don’t know how to tell you this, but it’s time that we break up. [...]

But don’t be sad. We’ll always remember the good times: our first date, when we rolled out the new user-interface together, and the way sometimes we could just sit there and not talk at all because you are just a label. [...]

Today is a big day for us. We learned to speak some new languages. And frankly, you don’t translate well. But we both speak English, and we know that “u” and “I” are far apart in the alphabet. We’re farther in real life.

It’s not you. It’s us.

Love always,

The Google Reader Team

As well as adding new languages, the logo has now lost the “Labs” beaker icon and the interface appears to have gained the same top navigation bar as services like Search, Gmail, Calendar, Docs, Picasa Web Albums and Groups, although I’m not seeing any links to these other services yet.

Joining Google Reader on its graduation day is GOOG-411, the US-only “Google Voice Local Search” service for finding local business information which was launched in April this year. GOOG-411 now has its own mini-site; an updated and simplified version of the old Google Voice Local Search site which, for now, is still available in Labs.

Update: In the forum, RC says, “GOOG-411 is simply the best 411 ever. [...] If only G promoted it, it would be a killer app.” Well, maybe Google is doing just that. Jeff McCaskey emailed this photo of a GOOG-411 billboard:

Today, a billboard on the I190 interstate in Buffalo NY went up with a Google 411 advertisement. See attached photo.

The economics aren’t clear, how can they justify a $10,000/month billboard in Buffalo NY for a service that has no perceivable income?

[Thanks Jeff!]


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