Google Postpones Strike Against Facebook

The Google Me social network may not launch until March or April of 2011, a delay of several months.

-Facebook Sniper Icon-Google’s plan to compete with Facebook has hit a speed bump: the so-called Google Me social network won’t launch until March or April of 2011.

Mashable first reported the delay, noting that it’s at least three or four months later than previous plans to launch Google Me before the end of 2010.

We asked Google to explain the delay to us, and got the exact same prepared statement that Mashable printed earlier. Only we weren’t told not to identify the spokesperson who responded. Lily Lin of Google’s Global Communications & Public Affairs department told us via email:

“We’re always experimenting with new ways to improve our products, and we have already confirmed that we are focused on incorporating social elements across Google. But we have nothing new to announce at this time.”

Mashable suggested that the delay has to do with disagreement within Google on the entire project. Surely a conflict of that scope — ecompassing design, purpose and execution — would add a lot more than just a few months to the launch date. An extra three to four months sounds more like polishing. Techier types might call it debugging.

Perhaps Google has learned from its experience trying to compete with Twitter — the Buzz product has been a complete dud. One could blame Buzz’s poor performance on the company rushing things, a mistake made by many technology companies.

Google had admitted to the media that Buzz only underwent internal testing; the service didn’t undergo trials with outside users, which usually happens before Google launches something new. Those kinds of tests could easily take about three to four months.

Perhaps the real conflict regarding Google Me concerns whether to rush things so it launches when Facebook’s new Messaging platform comes out. Or maybe the outcome of Google’s bids to acquire Groupon might dictate social media strategy going forward.

Readers, why do you think Google Me may not come out until spring 2011?