Let me take you back to the beginning of the year for a minute. Groupon had recently turned down a buyout offer from Google reported at around $6 billion. Everyone was wondering what Google's next move was going to be. Clearly they were interested in entering the Groupon/daily deals space. It was highly unlikely that Google was just going to give up on these aspirations because Groupon turned them down.
Google's Marissa Mayer did an interview with Media Beat, reminding us that Google already had some things that could compete with Groupon, and with the right integration and implementation of products, could be a viable player in the space.
"I think that when you look at our overall suite of services, especially around our advertising, we already have some things that are like this," Mayer said. "We have things like coupons and offer extension ads that allow merchants to basically make offers to our users. So we’re looking at how we can take that technology and put it to use, especially in the location space."
Here's the full interview:
Fast forward a bit, and Google officially launched its first Google Offers deals in Portland at the beginning of this month. The product is, for all intents and purposes, essentially a Groupon clone. While some may have dismissed Google's entry into this space as just that, now comes an interesting discovery by Search Engine Land's Greg Sterling, which seems to fall more in line with a broader vision, and with Mayer's discussion.
Sterling happened across a Google "offer ad" in the wild (which has been known to be in testing), but when he clicked "view offer," he was taken to an offer page with a button for "save to My Offers," that when clicked takes you to a "My Offers" dashboard, which he describes as a "repository for several deal types that Google appears to have up its sleeve".
So, all of these Google-based offers would appear in the same place in your Google account, making for an easy way to access them, which could be huge for user engagement.
In addition, the concept would seemingly give Google more flexibility in its own "offers" offerings - to delve more into other areas, such as location, like Mayer talked about, for example. The thing about Google is that it has so many products that it could find ways to integrate offers into. So many products tied to that one Google account. Think search, Gmail, Latitude, Places, etc. They have a lot of ways to potentially get offers in front of users' eyeballs, and an email-style Groupon clone appears to be only a part of their strategy.