The Dealmap, which aggregates local offers and displays them on a Google-powered map. This makes a natural, almost obvious addition to Google's range of local business products as it expands its mobile and social platforms. The acquisition of The Dealmap is a signal that deals will be integrated directly into Google Maps and other location searches, but the details remain to be seen. Google has quite a few location services on the table right now, and they don't yet sync up into a coherent user experience.Google continues its plodding march into the local deals space. They've just acquired
The Dealmap displays offers from major local deals providers, including Groupon, who rejected a $6 billion acquisition offer from Google late last year. Meanwhile, Google has launched its own competing daily deals business, Google Offers, in Portland, Oregon, and recently expanding to New York City, Oakland, and San Francisco. Google also offers a check-in deal service, Latitude, which is slowly rolling out nationwide.
This acquisition is sure to have interesting implications for Microsoft, who have been partnered with The Dealmap for their competing Bing Deals service.
Google, the giant that it is, doesn't have to worry about scale, but it is moving against entrenched competitors, such as Groupon, LivingSocial and Foursquare, who have been solely devoted to building these capabilities all this time. Google is building these applications slowly, one piece at a time, and there's no clear path to adoption for users. Google users already see bits and pieces of these services across various applications, but there's no starting point as obvious as a Groupon email landing in one's inbox.
Google has acquired other startups working on local business this year, such as TalkBin, a mobile service that lets users communicate with local businesses in real time. Whether that was an acquisition for talent, technology or both, it's clear that Google wants a wide range of options for how to proceed in this space. What will that look like on the user end?
Google Maps is a natural place to integrate deals into location searches, but how do Latitude check-ins play in? How will these services integrate into Google Plus, which does currently feature location check-ins, but in a sparse and half-finished way, especially on iOS? Google's whole business is built on precisely-targeted advertising, but Google ads come at users from all directions as they navigate between the various Google services. The Dealmap would make a welcome addition to local searches for shopping or restaurants, but it only addresses part of Google's relationship to local businesses and their customers.