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Google: We Already Have Groupon-Like Products

Where is Google Headed in the Deals and Location Spaces?

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Google’s Marissa Mayer recently made the switch from the company’s VP of search products to focusing on the company’s geo and local products. In a recent interview with Media Beat, Mayer talked a bit about how the location-based service space has gotten off to a slow start (in terms of actual user adoption), as well as some reasons that Google already has some things to offer in Groupon’s territory (as you’re probably aware, Groupon recently turned down an acquisition offer from Google). 

In terms of that slow location-based service adoption, Mayer said, "I think a lot of this means that it’s just very early. So it’s a very fast moving space. It’s very interesting. It’s one of the reasons I was really excited to move over and work in this area. But it’s just very early, and so I think that we are still experimenting with what are the incentives? What are the rewards? What’s the user value proposition? Why should I want to use a location-based service, especially on my phone, because the phone has basically unlocked all of this potential."

"So part of it is, as there’s more and more smartphones, I think there will be more and more people using location," she added. "We’re already seeing this with Google Maps for Mobile. But I think that as this progresses and people get more deals, offers, better offers, better value, better recommendations on where to go, start meeting up with friends…more users will adopt it."

When you think of location-based services, you might think more about things like Foursquare, Gowalla, SCVGR, etc. but this space is closely tied with the deals space, because ultimately this is going to be one of the main ways to attract users – businesses harnessing services like these to get people in the door. 

When we think of deals these days, Groupon of course comes to mind. After news came out of Groupon denying Google’s bid, many of us wondered what Google’s next move would be. Would they try to acquire one of Groupon’s competitors? Would they simply build their own competitor? Mayer reminds us, however, that Google already has some things that could easily compete (and in some ways already do) in this space. It’s just a matter of the right integration and implementation of products. 

"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."

Mayer running the show in that area can’t be a bad thing. She’s got a pretty good track record in her old stomping ground (search). While she didn’t exactly rule out the possibility of other acquisitions in this area (in fact Google is likely to continue the acquisition spree of 2010 into the New Year), it’s clear that Google does in fact have a number of the pieces of the puzzle in its possession already. It’s just a matter of fitting them together in the right ways (much like in the social space). 

Groupon CEO Andrew Mason recently called Groupon the savior for small businesses. Some businesses might have given this title to Google back when AdWords came out. While Google is not without its critics, there is no question that the company has already begun placing a great deal more emphasis on local, and is already the go-to place for finding local business info for a lot of users. It stands to reason that Google will be among the big players in both location-based services and deals. At the very least, it’s going to be hard to keep Google very far away from the conversation. 

Then there’s that whole social layer thing.

Google: We Already Have Groupon-Like Products
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  • http://www.dailydealpool.com Guest

    In this economy, people are looking to save money anywhere they can. People use daily deal and group-buying sites to help them find deals in order to save money on all kinds of products and services.

    http://dailydealpool.com/ is a free online resource that will give you daily sales and deals right to your e-mail inbox. By taking advantage of great deals while they last, you can put some extra money in your pocket to help with the bills, the mortgage, or just daily necessities.

  • Guest

    This is not good news for Groupon. With giants like Google and Amazon joining this game, the competition will become very fierce. Another problem Groupon facing is that it’s the products or services that the buyer cares the most. With the increasing number of deals offered, buyers can just visit a daily deal aggregator like http://www.shopway.com to check all the available deals easily. As a user, it makes absolutely no difference to me if I get an email from Groupon, LivingSocial, or ShopWay telling me about a deal, since I’m after the deal itself. With all of these clones coming up, Groupon’s model runs the risk of becoming a commodity.

  • Guest

    I got a groupon deal today for some gym classes for 6 weeks for only $20 (89% off). Man that’s abusive. Businesses are a limited pool so sooner or later they’ll wake up and most won’t deal with coupon again unless they lower their fees. I read a survey report that says most of these business owners have no clue what they are doing either. Some will offer the deal not realizing Groupon is just a loss for their biz. I think Myspace will last longer than Groupon. :-)

  • http://www.bing.com/ Banjo

    I was seiursoly at DefCon 5 until I saw this post.