Google launched its Google Offers for Android application on Thursday, a new app that allows users to search and find local deals. The application is free and allows you to purchase any deal, such as “$15 for $25 to spend on outdoor gear at REI” (today’s special) right from your smartphone. Users can personalize the offers by visiting http://www.google.com/offers from a phone or a computer, too. For example, we have Google Offers set to alert us of any deals in uptown New York City so that we can be alerted of new coupons for local restaurants. Google Offers is live in the Android Market now. More →
Google on Thursday finally took the wraps off its Google Wallet and Google Offers services, which offer an NFC-based contactless payment system married with a location-based local coupon service. On the same day, eBay and its online payment arm PayPal filed a lawsuit against Google and two of its executives for stealing trade secrets relating to mobile payments. Osama Bedier and Stephanie Tilenius, both of whom were heavily involved in the development of the Google Wallet service, were named in the suit. Beider and Tilenius were formerly PayPal employees who left the company to join Google and help build Google Wallet. Both executives were with PayPal for the better part of a decade, and Bedier was most recently vice president of platform, mobile and new ventures. The suit accuses Bedier of having “misappropriated PayPal trade secrets by disclosing them within Google and to major retailers,” and it alleges that Tilenius broke a contractual agreement with eBay by recruiting Bedier once moving to Google. More →
During a press conference in New York City today, Google officially took the wraps off of its Google Wallet and Google Offers mobile payment services. Google confirmed that it is working with banks, retailers, and other partners to allow users to make mobile payments with their cell phones. “Your phone will be your wallet,” Google’s VP of Commerce, Stephanie Tilenius, said. “Just tap, pay and save.” Initial partners include Citi, MasterCard, Macy’s, Subway, Walgreens, and Sprint, and trials will begin today with a full launch expected this summer. The search giant said that more than 300,000 merchant locations in the United States will work with Google’s NFC-based mobile payment services, and Google Wallet will automatically apply discounts, loyalty rewards, or coupons at the point of sale. Users can charge up the wallet using a credit card or a prepaid Google card. The firm expects that, by 2014, 150 million smartphones with be enabled with near-field communications (NFC). Google Offers will provide offers based on a user’s location and preferences, and that trial will first occur in Portland and New York.
Google offered up a whopping $6 billion in an effort to acquire local deal vender Groupon last year, but the Internet giant was rebuffed. $6 billion is quite a healthy amount of scratch, but Groupon apparently thought it could take over the world on its own. Of course the massively successful coupon merchant must have known at that time — just as the rest of the world knew — that Google would certainly not leave well enough alone. Enter “Google Offers.” The aptly named service will be Google’s attempt to eat Groupon’s lunch, offering great local deals on, well, lunch — among other things. Restaurant deals, shopping deals and other local deals will be emailed to users each day, and the service will be packed full of opportunities to notify nearby friends of great deals via Facebook, Twitter, Google Buzz and so on. Hit the break for a screen shot of a Google Offers page to see what we have to look forward to, as well as a fact sheet Google is sending to local businesses in an effort to get them on board.