Hyperpublic Could Help Groupon Compete With Google In Local Search

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So Google wants to enter Groupon's turf? Maybe Groupon will just enter Google's.

Groupon has acquired Hyperpublic, a company that builds local databases for developers. Glancing at some of the projects that Hyperpublic has been working on, there are some search-related dealings.

A message on the Hyperpublic site says:

Today is an INSANE day! We are so proud to announce that Hyperpublic has been acquired by the rocket ship that is Groupon. This is a huge win for our team, our investors, and everyone who contributed to our company over the past two years. We set out to change the way people interacted with the local environment, and are pumped to continue that mission as a part of one of the fastest growing and most disruptive companies in the world.

Two years ago, huddled around a few borrowed desks in the offices of Lerer Ventures (thank you!), we decided to throw our hats into the fast changing world of local data and discovery. We talked about Groupon as a force that was defining our market. We are elated to join forces and to contribute to Groupon’s continued success.

Thanks to everyone who helped us get to this point and special thanks to all of our investors and advisors. Let’s do this.

Terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

Co-founder and CEO Jordan Cooper told the New York Times that the two companies spent several months negotiating the deal, and that Hyperpublic raised $1.15 million from Lerer Ventures, where Cooper is a partner, Softbank Capital,and others.

Some of the company's staff will go to work for Groupon. Apparently some will not.

Evidently, the acquisition is a competitive strategy for Groupon. The Times quotes Cooper as saying, "The market that we’re playing in is one that Foursquare and Google are playing in. The better Groupon understands the people and local environment that they are trying to drive traffic to, the better they will do.”

As you may know, Groupon turned down an acquisition offer from Google in 2010. The company has partnered with Foursquare, but Foursquare has also indicated it could partner with Google.

Hyperpublic has had a few interesting projects in development. It's unclear whether these will continue under Groupon. Hyperpublic Display "displays the deep data that Hyperpublic has organized in an easy to view format. Hover over people, places, and things to view their tags and locations. Add yourself and a few tags so others can discover you."

Iswhatimlookingfor "helps people find local places with 1 answer to their query. Often people just want to say what they're looking for and be told where to find it, without having to sift through tens or hundreds of options."

Hyperpublic Search is for helping the user "Find the "best rock shrimp under $12 in the east village" or where to buy a "black leather dress belt" near the closest subway stop."

WiFi Locator "locates you and lets you know which businesses have free WiFi nearby."

These are all listed on the company's site under "labs".

Change is in the air at Groupon. Beyond this, other recent developments include the launch of Groupon VIP, which will give hard core customers access to more deals for $30 a year, and a new personalization system that should serve customers more relevant deals.

Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.

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