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Groupon Takes Another Bite Out of Google's Local Market

Google’s Marissa Mayer, who heads up Google’s local projects and is one of the big voices behind Google Hotpot, has been telling us a lot about local features at Google. Mayer even went so far as admitting that there were too many different products, and that some should be – and likely will be – wrapped into tighter packages, or retired altogether. That doesn’t prevent Google from having big plans on local search, deals, and contextual discovery. These days, there’s really only one thing standing in their way: Groupon.

Google was willing to pay $6 billion to buy Groupon, but the company turned them down. Whether a sign of confidence or insanity is unsure; analysts and enthusiasts alike weren’t confident of where Groupon will be going after they turned down the immense offer. We’re starting to see some of Groupon’s plans unfold, however, including in the form of instant, contextual, local search features.

Groupon Now, a product that was previewed in a Business Week report, allows users to get instantly usable results for nearby companies. Of course, being Groupon, this isn’t just a way to find a business. It’s a way to find a business who’s giving 30 to 90 percent off the normal price. Further, personalization based on past preferences is very much in Groupon’s power.

There’s no doubt that this treads on the toes of Google’s plans, which involves a similar contextual discovery for mobile, tablet, and even standard desktop users. Some speculation even states that Google may be planning on notifying users of local deals based solely on their location and their search, deal, and local shopping history, or otherwise integrating features similar to Groupon’s “Now.” However, with Groupon now securing that territory early, and the figures tilted heavily against Google in that market, it will be harder for Google to compete.

[via Google Watch]

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