What Is Google Labs And Why Is It Appearing On Some Phones?

By Tegan Jones on at

Back in 2011 Google Labs was discontinued on desktops. A home from experimental Google features, it allowed users to test them before being rolled out en masse.

We've known for awhile that Labs was set to make a comeback on mobile, and it seems to already be appearing for some people.

While some Google users will get a taste of new features as part of A/B testing, there hasn't been a dedicated platform for trialling Google features for about nine years. However, as 9To5Google discovered in a tear down of the 9.23 version of the Google app, a new version of Labs has been in the works since at least 2019.

And now it seems to be getting released in the real world on bot beta and regular versions of the Google app. You can access it by opening the Google app, hitting 'more' and selecting 'Labs'.

Not only will you be able to try out experiments that Google upload to Labs, but also submit feedback on each feature. You can provide feedback via one of your Google accounts or anonymously.

Images: 9To5Google

Unfortunately, it's not working for everyone just yet (including me) but those chosen few will find two experiments currently live on the platform.

The first is 'pinch to zoom on search results'. As the name suggests, you can pinch two fingers on a Google search results page to get a closer look at what's displaying on the page.

The second is 'screenshot editing, sharing and actions' which according to 9To5Google seems to be quite similar to smart screenshots, which has been rolling out since Q3 2019.

If these experiments don't work for you at first, the classic 'turn it on and off again' function should kick them into gear.

We're not sure when Google Labs will officially launch, but we're guessing it isn't far off. [9To5Google]


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