Google debuts Groupon competitor

It has certainly been a busy week for many companies. At this week's D9 conference, many of them unveiled exciting new products and services. Google, certainly among the top companies attending, has announced that it is launching a coupon site to compete with the Groupon online coupon service.

The new service, Google Offers (beta) was rolled out earlier this week, and according to the help page,

"Google Offers brings you daily deals from local businesses, redeemable for discounted goods or services. From restaurants to spa treatments, Google has deals from the best businesses your city has to offer. Each day, a limited number of deals are available for purchase during a specific timeframe."

‚ÄčOn the flipside, Groupon purports that,

"Groupon negotiates huge discounts—usually 50-90% off—with popular businesses. We send the deals to thousands of subscribers in our free daily email, and we send the businesses a ton of new customers. That's the Groupon magic."

Interestingly enough, Groupon turned down a bid from Google for 6 billion USD in December 2010, according to Bloomberg.  As with Google Offers Beta, Groupon also has time limits on their deals, but Google certainly has one ace up its sleeve that will certainly differentiate it from Groupon: NFC.  Near Field Communication is a technology used for close range bi-directional communications (for a primer, visit the NFC website's FAQ page). This communications technology has already been integrated into the Google Nexus S, which will eventually integrate with Google Wallet (also listed as beta), a service for mobile devices, allowing your mobile device to make purchases at brick and mortar retailers.  As you may imagine, geolocation data can be used to deliver "deals" relevant to your location, and directly to your phone.  

Currently, Google Offers is only available for users in Portland, Oregon and will be expanding, according to the Google Offers website.

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