New ‘Google Offers’ Service Aims to Compete with Groupon and LivingSocial

A few months ago, Google’s $6 Billion offer was roundly rejected by the object of the Internet giant’s overture: Groupon.com, a web-based local deals service who instead is preparing its own $15 Billion IPO. Fast-forward to today and Mashable has an exclusive report on Google’s attempts to compete in this important local niche.

According to the documents being leaked today, Google is preparing to beta their competing service, dubbed ‘Google Offers’ which in a similar manner to sites like LivingSocial.com, Groupon.com and an array of similar services, will offer local pre-paid offers to subscribers of the service. As of a few hours ago, it appears Google has officially validated the rumors with a prepared statement.

Google is communicating with small businesses to enlist their support and participation in a test of a pre-paid offers/vouchers program. This initiative is part of an ongoing effort at Google to make new products, such as the recent Offer Ads beta, that connect businesses with customers in new ways. We do not have more details to share at this time, but will keep you posted.

If you’re familiar with some of the existing social buying services out there, Google Offers will work similarly. As a subscriber, you’ll receive a daily email detailing a local deal or offering in your area.

You’ll then have the opportunity to purchase that deal within 24 hours. Once enough people purchase the deal, the offer is triggered and those who got in will receive, as an example, $40 in pub food for $20 (a fairly typical offering).

It’s been clear for a while now that Google views this sector of local advertising extremely important, as it tends to impinge on the company’s main method of generating cash: sponsored ads via Google Adwords. Over the years, more and more location-based features have been poured into the Adwords mix, from the ability to radius or region-target ad campaigns, to purely local plays like Google Places and Google Tags that let retail owners add coupons and specials to their local listings.

Apparently, Google’s new motto is, “If you can’t buy them, destroy them with a competing product offering.” Personally, I liked their original motto better: “Don’t be evil.” Lately, they’re reminding me of Microsoft, and that’s never a good thing.

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