The Google Offers service, which sends Groupon-like daily deals to your email box, launched in June in Portland and quickly expanded to include New York and San Francisco.
Google attempted to buy Groupon in late 2010, but Groupon declined the reported $6 billion offer to pursue its own lofty goals and even filed for a $750 million IPO (although, that IPO may be in trouble now). In response, Google introduced Offers, which will pose a serious challenge to Groupon, Living Social, and other daily deal sites because Google has so much more cash to burn.
The daily deals space has become increasingly crowded as more players enter the market. The space has already had some victims too — after five months, Facebook decided to kill off it deals program, and Yelp said it will significantly scale back its deals.
The first five Offers in the new cities look fairly decent. Here is how Google lists them on the Google Commerce blog:
In Austin, the first Google Offer is from Juan in a Million with $5 for $10 worth of food and drink. The menu at this locally-adored Mexican restaurant includes the legendary “Don Juan”– El Taco Grande of the Breakfast Taco Challenge that defeated Adam Richman on the Travel Channel’s Man vs. Food series. Visit the Google booth at the ACL pre-party Thursday night to learn more.
Toscanini’s Ice Cream in Cambridge down the street from MIT, is running our day-one Google Offer in Boston. Spend $5 for $10 worth of gourmet ice cream, choosing from delectable flavors like Burnt Caramel, Ginger Snap Molasses and Grape Nut.
Falafel is on the menu in our nation’s capital, with today’s Google Offer of $3 for $6 of food and beverage from the fun and funky Amsterdam Falafelshop in D.C. Redeem it for their world-famous falafel and make room for creative toppings like crunchy onions, garlic cream sauce and house-made pickled veggies.
In Denver, get $20 of merchandise for $5 at all three locations of Tattered Cover Book Store, celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. Meet your new favorite author, cozy up with a latte and a magazine or browse through thousands of books and unique gift items in antique filled stores, each with its own indie ambiance.
The Seattle Aquarium has a Google Offer you “otter” buy today with $9.50 for one day’s admission worth up to $19, that can also be applied toward an individual or family annual membership. See sand crabs, harbor seals, sea urchins and jellyfish frolic in the waves at this beloved Seattle institution. Check the calendar for upcoming events like underwater pumpkin carving.
Have you used Offers so far? What do you think of the deals compared to Groupon?