Google set to launch group buying serviceWeb giant plans Groupon-style daily discount site

03 February 2011

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Internet giant Google is rumoured to be entering the group buying market with a daily discount service of its own.

The search engine is apparently preparing to launch Google Offers, a competitor to sites such as Incahoot and market leader Groupon, which turned down a $4bn takeover bid by Google last year.

Group buying websites allow users to combine forces to take advantage of special offers on experiences, restaurants and hotels.

Users provide the site with their location and receive daily e-mails containing local and national deals, which they have a chance to buy for a limited time. Once a certain number of people have purchased a particular offer, the deal is triggered and users can take advantage of the discount.

Group buying on the increase

The group buying market is growing quickly in the UK. Groupon alone have nearly 2.5 million users, and the site is the 49th most visited in the UK.

And now it seems that Google, after having their bid for Groupon rebuffed, are about to enter the market themselves.

A factsheet leaked to the social and digital media website Mashable last week revealed the internet giant’s plan to launch “Google Offers…a new product to help potential customers and clientele find great deals in their area through a daily email.”

A statement from Google later confirmed they were “communicating with small businesses to enlist their support and participation in a test of a pre-paid offers/vouchers program, part of an ongoing effort at Google to make new products that connect businesses with customers in new ways.”

Other group buying websites

Making money from discounts is big business at the moment.

This week the social networking site Facebook made its Places Deals service available in the UK, allowing mobile users to find out about deals or offers that are available near to their current locations, while, due to Groupon’s success, the group buying market is rapidly expanding.

Groupola, Snippa, kgbdeals, Crowdity and LivingSocial all offer a similar service, and another new site, Incahoot, offering deals on essential household bills, launched last month.

While all these sites can save you money with some real bargains, the quality of offers varies, and there is a risk of users being bombarded with emails.

Critics also say that the providers of group buying services might face such heavy demand for offers that they find it difficult to come up with good deals at the times that consumers really want them.

For top money saving guides, including tips on cutting household bills, visit the bills and budgeting section of the Which? website. 

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