Google today announced a beta test of Google Offers, which is taking on Groupon and other coupon/offering startups head-on. Now, not every Google roll-out is a wild success (see Buzz and Wave), but Google has a few things going for it that give Offers a leg up.
- Google Checkout – Google already has easy payment and checkout in place, built into Google Accounts.
- Google Places – Google already has their nice Places pages for businesses to claim, and build out. They are becoming increasingly prominent on results pages, and they are integrated into Google Maps. Look for Offers to be fully integrated into Places, and be prominently placed in any mobile search.
- Local Search – Google has been increasingly focused on local search, constantly tinkering with the algorithm and serving up different result architecture. It’s easy to see how a search on “coffee house portland” is going to include specific Offers.
- Personalized Search – when you’re signed in to your Google Account for whatever reason (i.e. Gmail), Google has been delivering increasingly personalized results. If you are buying Google Offers, it’s going to influence the offers and the merchants you are displayed.
Following are the top two results on a search for “coffee house portland“:
The blue and red markers show up on the accompanying map for this search. How about a green marker for Offers? What else will Offers get – a graphic or a line of text? Either way, more real estate and visibility for the merchant that buys into Google Offers.
Google Offers is only going to be available in Portland, followed by NYC and San Francisco. My guess is that it goes gangbusters, fueled by the strength of Google search.