A while back there were rumors doing the rounds that said Google was gearing up to buy Groupon. However, the deal apparently fell through because Groupon rejected Google’s multi-billion dollar offer (rumors range from $2.5 billion to between $5.6 and $6 billion). Google clearly saw something big in Groupon, just like it saw something big in YouTube and all of the other companies it’s acquired. And it seems the company was not content to just sit back and let Groupon be the fat-cat of the online deals world.
Today, information of a new Google project, dubbed Google Offers, leaked out. Citing a fact sheet that’s supposedly being sent out to local businesses, Mashable reports that Google Offers looks and operates much like Groupon or LivingSocial: Users receive an e-mail with a local deal of the day, which they have a limited time to buy into. Once enough people commit to the offer, the deal is confirmed or ‘on’ and those who have committed receive their coupon. Powered by Google Checkouts, Google Offers will also have sharing options to allow people to spread the word via email, Google Reader, Google Buzz, and the usual social network-y suspects.
Responding to Mashable’s story, Google confirmed that it’s “communicating with small businesses to enlist their support and participation in a test of a pre-paid offers/vouchers program” but refused to provide any more details.