UPDATE: One commenter is (and several at TechCrunch are) suggesting this isn’t actually a sneak peek at Google Offers, as TechCrunch had claimed, but an old coupon feature for Google Places.We’ve reached out to Google and will update if we hear back. For now, it’s not safe to assume that this is actually Google Offers.
It’s possible that Google will make significant changes before launching publicly, but it looks (so far) like Google isn’t actually trying to replicate the Groupon model.
That is, it looks like Google is NOT selling vouchers directly to consumers and splitting the revenue with merchants, or using a “deal a day” model, or any “group-buying” mechanics. These are all the things Groupon has used to become the fastest growing Internet company ever.
Instead, it looks like Google is merely building a massive coupon dump, and hoping that people will find them on their own, either using maps, or perhaps some other search tools.
That’s not to say that Google Offers won’t necessarily find an audience — if Google can stick its coupon deals in its maps and search results, it may draw merchant and consumer interest away from Groupon.
But this almost seems like it’s more competitive with Facebook Places coupons than Groupon. Perhaps there’s more that hasn’t launched yet.
Photo: Google via TechCrunch