Rumor: Google readying Groupon competitor

Jan 21, 2011

Google Maps and Google Places, the company’s check-in feature. I’d expect the app to do just enough cool things to make it better than the competition.

What remains to be seen, however, is whether Offers can really stand on equal footing with established group-buying sites. Groupon and LivingSocial already have lots of loyal users, and while everyone knows Google, that doesn’t mean everyone uses their services. Remember Google Wave? When was the last time you checked up on Google Buzz? It’ll be a matter of how much weight the Google name carries with small business owners, which are the bread and butter of the group buying experience. Will they go with Google, or will they bank with Groupon’s runaway $15 billion success story?

On the other end, the strength of Google’s Offers community will likely depend on the strength of its tools. Its web interface is going to play a big part, as are its apps. Certainly the company is going to spend a lot of time on both those things to ensure that users have the easiest time executing their deals as possible.

Groupon, LivingSocial and their brethren might want to start looking at how they can improve their apps — Google is, and you can bet it’ll have learned some lessons from its competitors when Offers eventually goes live.

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Phil Hornshaw

Phil Hornshaw is a freelance writer, editor and author living in Los Angeles, dividing his time between playing video games, playing video games on his cell phone, and writing about playing video games. He’s also the co-author of So You Created a Wormhole: The Time Traveler’s Guide to Time Travel, which attempts to mix time travel pop culture with some semblance of science, as well as tips on the appropriate means of riding dinosaurs. Check out his profile.

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