Google Offers takes on Groupon in daily deal dust-up

Great news for anyone who likes cheap spa days: Google Offers is launching the big G into the world of daily deals.

Great news for anyone who likes cheap spa days: Google Offers is launching the big G into the world of daily deals.

Daily deal sites work by emailing you a discount offer that is only available that day. Usually, the deal only activates if enough people on the mailing list register for it. Discounts are offered on all kinds of products and services, from local coffee, driving lessons or photography sessions to spa treatments. Lots of spa treatments. Existing sites include Groupon, LivingSocial and Groupola.

Google attempted to buy Groupon for $6bn before setting up Offers. Groupon said no, and is set for a stock offering worth more than twice that. Heck, if anyone offered us $6bn we'd take the money so fast we'd be sipping margaritas on a super yacht before our chairs stopped spinning.

Social buying is clearly all the rage. Twitter had a crack at it with @earlybird offers, and Amazon bought Woot in mid-2010. But before you get involved, be aware that deals may not be the cast-iron bargain they're made out to be, as shenanigans and chicanery have been spotted in the past.

Google Offers hasn't officially launched yet, but leaked papers reveal the search giant is currently recruiting retailers and businesses to provide discounts. It's also unclear whether Offers will launch here in Blighty or be limited to the US.

It's been a big day for Google: in a shake-up at the top, Googleboss Eric Schmidt has stepped down as CEO.

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by Iyaz Akhtar