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Google is well more than a search engine these days, but what else it is exactly is often hard to define – unless you hone in on a specific service. One industry targeted by several Google products and services is the local industry. As part of expanding their local-oriented services, Google is currently testing a service known as “Offers.” Offers bears a striking resemblance to Groupon, the daily deal site, but offers some unique advantages and is integrated with select Google services. Previously tested in only in Portland, Offers is now expanding to both New York City and the San Francisco Bay Area.
These releases are far from unexpected: in previous releases of Google Offers, a drop-down menu that allowed you to select yourlocation showed a “coming soon” message next to New York City and San Francisco. We can use this to see what areas will be getting Google Offers in the near future: Boston, Austin, Denver, Seattle, and Washington D.C. are all showing a “coming soon” status.
Each site provides a daily deal, the option to save specific local deals for future redemption, and a connection to Google Places to find out more about local businesses. Additionally, these pages seem to be indexed by Google’s own search engine, meaning they can be found through the SERP. It’s also been confirmed that features are coming for Google AdWords that allow local businesses to showcase coupons or deals that are hosted in Google Offers.
The gradual rollout is proceeding fairly quickly, but still has a long way to go to catch up to Groupon, the undisputed industry leader. While Google has now launched in three cities, Groupon is present in around 400.
[Sources include: the Official Google Blog]