Google Offers has signed on 14 new deal providers as partners, allowing users to purchase, manage and redeem offers from many providers in one place. This if-you-can't-beat-em-join-'em arrangement gives Google over a dozen tiny needles to stick into Groupon, LivingSocial and other competitors.
Google wants to beat its commerce competitors with data. Offers now has a personalization quiz that helps Google tune Offers to the desires of its users. It has also begun to incorporate location through its acquisition of The Dealmap, trying to stay ahead of Groupon's relationship with foursquare. But will Google ever have as much shopping data as Amazon's daily deals? That's hard to imagine.
The expanded deal inventory from new partners is available to San Francisco Bay Area users now, but the quiz is available everywhere. Google will "gradually roll out" its new inventory of offers in the coming months. Google has advanced the whole offers product slowly, a few cities at a time.
Google has lots of competition in this market. In addition to Groupon and LivingSocial (which took a $175 million investment from Amazon), AOL is making moves with Patch Deals by partnering with American Express and creating a sort of Internet Yellow Pages with MapQuest. But Amazon is the big kahuna. It is the whole Internet's shopping mall. Not only has Amazon put millions into LivingSocial, it has its own daily deals now.
The Daily Deals Data War
Daily deals are all about user data, and monetizing user data is Google's forté. It can now gather all kinds of data directly from its Offers product, as well as from the other side of shopping using tools like Google Product Search.
But look at all these huge companies pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into what is proving to be a low-margin business with insanely high breakage rates and deleterious effects on local businesses. Is the Walmart-ification of online commerce, the vertical integration of local deals into behemoths like Google, Amazon, AOL and Groupon, going to help consumers in the long run?
Do you buy daily deals? Are you a business that offers daily deals online? Tell us about it in the comments.