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BizReport : Social Marketing : June 01, 2011

All eyes on Oregon as Google Offers goes live

Today's the day that Google begins testing its Offers service that delivers local bargains to smartphone "wallets", starting with a cafe in Portland, Oregon.

by Helen Leggatt

All eyes are on Portland today as the Internet giant moves into yet another sphere of everyday life - your wallet - as it launches an offer service that could pose a serious threat to Groupon.

Just like Groupon's deal service, Google Offers gives users discounts of 50% or more at local businesses. However, unlike Groupon the deals don't need to reach a predetermined user count before they're valid.

Why Portland? Because, says Google's Kyle Harrison (Product Manager, Google Offers) "Portlanders know how to mix the urban (killer coffee, music and art) and the small-town (easy walking, biking and socializing). That's why, when we started planning the Google Offers beta, we knew Portland was the ideal place to get it all kicked off.".

To be more precise the first Google Offer will be from Portland cafe Floyd's Coffee who are offering $10 of coffee for $3. Having put a $2,000 "ceiling" on the offer owner Jack Inglis isn't sure what to expect.

"We're going to see how quickly that goes and how we're able to accommodate that kind of onslaught," he said.

Google Offers will eventually expand to New York City and the San Francisco area later in the summer.

Google Offers also works with a free mobile app that transforms a smartphone into an electronic wallet. Called "Google Wallet" the app is designed to replace credit cards, store cards, gift cards and money-off vouchers and allows them to be automatically redeemed / credited with loyalty points each time it is used.

Currently being tested in New York and San Francisco, Google Wallet will be released later this year. Subway, Macy's, Walgreens, Toys 'R Us, First Data, Citibank and MasterCard are all reported to be backing the feature.

Tags: deals service, digital wallet, Google, near-field communications, smartphone

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