Google Allows Businesses to Create "Offers" For Free

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It was announced today that the updated version of Google Maps now contains Google Offers that can be redeemed by customers at the retail locations they search for. What was not made totally clear at the time is that Google is now allowing business owners to create Google Offers for Free, during a limited-time trial period.

Though the original Google Offers resembled a Groupon-like deal service, its integration with Google Maps works in a very similar way to Facebook Offers, which hands out what amount to online coupons to users. Facebook Offers have recently begun to appear in ads, sponsored stories, and users' news feeds. The Google Offers process for creating an Offer is also similar to Facebook's procedure. Google has created a website where business owners can learn how to create their deals and track how many of their Offers have been both saved and redeemed. Here is a short video Google has prepared to demonstrate the new process:

Instead of the pre-paid package deals that sites such as Groupon use, these new Google Offers will be more akin to coupons that can be redeemed with a smartphone. Users need only "use" the offer with a button press and show their screen at checkout to receive discounts or deals. This is a slight twist on how Facebook Offers, which use email as a middle-man, are redeemed. Also, Google Offers users can save individual offers for later redemption. A preview of how an Offer will look can be seen in the picture below.

A look at Google Offers on Android

What do you think? Is Google Offers' integration enough to compete with Facebook's new Offers, or will they need to begin allowing businesses to place Offers on Google+? Leave a comment below and let us know.

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