Google Offers: Can Google out-coupon Groupon?

Google Offers is reportedly set to go head-to-head with voucher sites such as Groupon and LivingSocial. But to succeed, Google will have to play catch-up – and fast.

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    Google Vouchers will reportedly use the same email voucher model as Groupon. At left, the Google logo is displayed on an iPhone in Germany.
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Google Offers – the name doesn't exactly roll off the tongue. But it does look like Google is close to pushing live its own deal-of-the-day service, presumably in an effort to replace Groupon in the hearts and minds of thrifty consumers everywhere.

According to Mashable, which obtained a "confidential fact sheet" on the new Google project, Google Offers "looks and operates much like Groupon or LivingSocial."

In other words, Google Offers users will sign up to receive regular emails about upcoming deals. Once a certain number of users have signed up for one of the deals, vouchers are issued; however, if the quota is not reached, no one gets a voucher, and everyone goes home sad. Groupon, which launched in 2008, has raked in many, many millions using this model, and there's no reason why Google – with its sizable Web footprint – couldn't do just as well.

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It's worth noting here that in December, Group on reportedly turned down a $6 billion buy-out offer from Google. (The Chicago Tribune reported that the company is weighing an initial public offering in 2011.) Which just goes to show you: If you turn down Google, you should expect Google to invest a lot of money in attempting to blow you and your company out of the water.

Google hasn't officially unveil the Google Offers platform, but in a statement released to Mashable, the company confirmed that something was in the works. “Google is communicating with small businesses to enlist their support and participation in a test of a pre-paid offers/vouchers program," reps wrote. "This initiative is part of an ongoing effort at Google to make new products, such as the recent Offer Ads beta, that connect businesses with customers in new ways."

So could Google Offers succeed? Discuss.

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