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Google Enters Into Coupon Combat with Offers

Aaron Steinfeld

Everyone knows what Groupon is. A lot of us even know what Living Social is. But did you know Google tried enter the online coupon domain with an attempt to buy Groupon last year and failed? Despite a heaping helping of purchase rumors toward the end of 2010, a settlement was never reached. We have since read plenty of stories stating that Groupon's value continues to climb, and as a result the I.P.O. talk is heating up with every passing month. Sure, Google may have committed a faux pas by passing up on having its own Google-Face-Space-Er (IE: friend-based social network), but its innovations won't be stopped with a single passed opportunity. Dear David, the Google Goliath sends his regards.

Enter Google Offers, which launched relatively quietly yesterday, but will without a doubt snowball into our everyday lives as time progresses. Just like its competition in Groupon and Living Social, Google Offers will deliver savings directly to your inbox (check out the cute video above). While the service is currently only offered in Portland, Oregon, it will soon be expanding to the greater New York area, parts of California and eventually beyond. The interface is clean, showing a Google Maps background with the offer displayed over it in a nice, legible format with all relevant information presented. Two thumbs up.

What if you're a potential business? Google has that covered too, complete with an adorable video seen here. By filling out a form on the Google Offers Web site, businesses gain access to the opportunity to put themselves "in front of thousands of customers [who are] looking for amazing deals on the best places to eat, shop, play and stay." Google promises to do all the heavy lifting by finding customers and to pay aforementioned businesses just a few days after their offer has posted. With Google's move into the coupon market, I can't help but wonder which coupon service businesses will prefer and receive the best results from. Don't be surprised if I revisit this topic in the future. Well, okay, you can act surprised to boost my ego (I thank you in advance).

Will Google Offers be worthy competition to the already dominant Groupon? Will you join the service? Time will tell–especially when it becomes more localized. CJP

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