Google tried to buy Groupon last fall for $6 billion, but the leading daily deals service said “no thanks.”
Testing will begin in Portland, Oregon. Next up will be certain parts of the San Francisco Bay Area and New York City.
Google isn’t offering much detail about Offers yet, but at first glance it looks a heck of a lot like Groupon. There’s a form for businesses to sign up to offer deals. Then, subscribers will receive emails offering up to 50% off particular products.
Interestingly, Portland is also the first city where Google sent out NFC chips to participating Google Places businesses. However, a Google spokesperson says that Offers and Places are not related.
There’s no guarantee that Google will be able to topple Groupon, but the company’s brand and reach will give it a leg up that other new daily deals companies might not have.
A significant portion of Google’s search revenue comes from small local businesses, and daily deals sites threaten to siphon some of that revenue into a more direct way to attract customers.
Google is also signing up users in certain parts of the San Francisco Bay Area and New York City. The beta will move to those cities after Portland.
The company also released a quirky promotional video that contains absolutely no information about the service.
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