Watch out Groupon, here comes Google Offers

If you can't buy em, beat em; Google launches Offers beta

Watch out Groupon. Google launched a beta test this week of Google Offers , going head-to-head with the increasingly popular Groupon site . Google is kicking off its coupon service in the Portland, Or. area.

Google Offers is designed, much like Groupon, to send users who have signed up with the service daily deals for restaurants, services and attractions in their area. According to the Google Offers Sign Up page, the coupons are for 50% off or more.

Groupon has risen to online fame as a local deal-of-the-day Web site. Now Internet players like Google and Facebook are trying to get in on the game .

On Thursday, Google's Chris Messina , dubbed a developer evangelist at Google, tweeted, "Dear PDX friends, Google Offers is now beta in YOUR city. Sign up!"

He later tweeted, "To clarify my earlier Google Offers tweet: what's live is beta sign up -- offers will come later, starting in PDX (then NYC, Bay Area)!"

All of this comes just months after news hit that Groupon had reportedly turned down Google's offer buy the Chicago-based business. Last November, word was that Google and Groupon were in advanced acquisition negotiations, with various reports of Google offering as much as $6 billion for the two-year-old company.

By the first week in December, that seemed to have fallen apart.

At the time, industry analysts speculated that Google, with its deep pockets and hefty clout, either would take another run at acquiring Groupon, or it would develop its own Groupon-like service and eclipse what would then be its competitor.

Also going after Groupon's market is Facebook , which in November first announced Facebook Deals as a feature that enabled local businesses to offer users deals when they go to their Facebook page. Facebook added to its Facebook Deals service last month, tweaking the service so that it brought the deals directly to the users --- just as Groupon does.

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her e-mail address is .

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Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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