Google Plans Groupon Competitor, Leaked Doc Shows

Wondering what Google's first product release will be under its newly installed CEO Larry Page? Turns out it might be a Groupon competitor called Google Offers, an online coupon service that encourages you to share deals with your friends. Just like Groupon, Google's new service would offer a daily discount from a local business in your area, according to Mashable.

A Peek at Google Offers. (Click to enlarge) Source: Mashable
Google's deals would also be offered for a limited time only. When you find a deal you like, you would have to purchase the coupon ahead of time using Google Checkout, according to a fact sheet obtained by Mashable.

But you may not be able to take advantage of the deal right away. Just like Groupon, each deal would reportedly require a minimum number of buyers before going into effect.

Groupon has a similar requirement the Chicago-based start-up calls "collective buying power." The idea is that businesses will be more likely to offer deep discounts if they are guaranteed to get a large number of customers walking through their doors. This set-up also encourages you to share your favorite deals with friends so you can reach the minimum number of buyers faster. Google Offers will reportedly have tools to share deals via Facebook, Twitter, Reader, Buzz, and e-mail.

Google's attempt to horn in on Groupon and Living Social isn't surprising considering Google tried to buy Groupon for a rumored $6 billion late last year. Google has also been trying to focus on local services with homegrown products such as Places and Buzz, so from that perspective a Groupon acquisition makes sense.

Despite Google's excitement around online coupons, however, the search giant's attempt to grab Groupon was met with doubt from some critics and analysts.

"This is a bad, bad idea for Google especially at the absurd valuation numbers [$6 billion] being thrown around." Forrester Research analyst Sucharita Mulpuru told the IDG News Service in November. A few days after Mulpuru's comments, Groupon was the one to walk away from a fat payday from Google.

Losing Groupon apparently hasn't stopped Google from moving ahead with its own local coupon plans. But it's not clear if Offers is a trial program or if Google is planning to launch its daily deals nationwide in the near future. We have contacted Google for a statement.

Google Offers Fact Sheet (via Mashable):

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