Yesterday we reported that Google’s +1 social feature could be launching today, after TechCrunch claimed that a combination of leaked partner information and an invitation to a new Google product announcement suggested as much. While +1’s debut is likely in our very near future, it appears that today’s big announcement is Google Offers. Google announced via its blog that its daily deals site would being beta testing in Portland, Oregon today beginning with 70-percent off at local café Floyd’s Coffee.
Google’s made no secret of its coupon curator ambitions. The Internet titan tried its very best to bag Groupon (for a rumored $6 billion), but the original collective buying site would have none of it. Undeterred, Google created its own version and has been busy recruiting and building the project – especially focusing on the local element that has worked so well for the likes of Groupon and LivingSocial.
Our initial impression is that Google Offers will fare just fine. Unlike Yahoo and AOL, Google has been busy acquiring its own location-specific deals instead of just aggregating the various ones floating around the Internet. The fact that Google has Places, Maps, and Hotpot (jury’s still out on how effective this feature is) to build off of and wrap into its deals site don’t hurt either. True to deal-a-day form, Offers includes some back story on the featured business and details on the discount. Obviously, Google Maps is there to point you in the right direction and send you to the retailer’s Google Places page. There’s also a link to take a 360-degree peek inside the store itself.
Obviously, Google has the resources to seriously invest in these types of applications, but the site has a history of missing the mark when it comes to anything related to social media. But from this initial look, it seems like it may be on the right track. Now Google just has to hope people haven’t grown weary of the Groupon-style scheme yet. Regardless of how successful and well-constructed a daily deals site is, we can’t help but feel that the clock is ticking on this industry. Sure, local discount aggregation is here to stay, but there’s definitely a possibility that the novelty has worn off and people aren’t as inclined to sign up for one now, like they were when Groupon first launched and introduced the idea. That said, Google has the customer base to pull from and advertise to that Groupon didn’t, and that’s an edge we’re sure the company is prepared to leverage.