Google Offers (s goog) has been on a slow roll out as it looks to get its footing in the daily deals space. But it’s taking a big step forward today with the announcement that it will start offering deals from 14 partners. It’s also implementing new personalization tools that help it deliver much more targeted discounts to users.
Google Offers will now start aggregating deals from these partners: Dealfind, DoodleDeals, Gilt City, GolfNow, HomeRun, JuiceInTheCity, kgbdeals, Mamapedia, PlumDistrict, PopSugar Shop, ReachDeals, Active.com Schwaggle, TIPPR and zozi. These deals will run alongside Google’s existing offers, which its sales staff will continue to source directly. Google’s goal is cover a range of verticals through its aggregation partners so it can have a wide array of offers that meet the tastes of users. The expanded selection of deals will first appear in San Francisco before expanding to Google Offers’ other markets.
Google Offers is not just trying to aggregate deals, something Bing Deals (s msft), Yipit and plenty of others already do. It’s trying to make the process a little smoother by allowing users to purchase and manage all their deals right through Google Offers without having to get directed to another deal site as many other aggregators do. Users can pay for any deal right through Google Offers. Google will also include a 1-800 number on deal vouchers so if there is any dispute with an offer, even one from a partner, consumers can resolve it through Google.
Google Offers is also introducing a new personalization quiz that allows people to pick out the categories they like and dislike and identify where they live, work and hang out. That feature, similar to what Yipit already does, will allow Google Offers to route the right deal to users and avoid flooding them with irrelevant offers. That’s one of the things that kills the enthusiasm for daily deals when you see a bunch of offers that have no value to you.
Google Offers is now up to 17 cities after launching in San Jose, San Diego, Baltimore and Minneapolis earlier this week. Google won’t say what kind of traction it’s getting but the move to aggregation shows that it’s trying to bulk up to better compete with Groupon and others. Nitin Mangtani, Group Product Manager for Google Offers, told me the updates to Google Offers is designed to help the company become more attractive to consumers and merchants. More deal volume and better personalization along with a more seamless transaction through one provider means consumers can find more relevant deals and also get a better overall experience.
With the Google Offers personalization tools, merchants can also home in on potential customers who are more passionate about certain categories and are better potential repeat visitors. Mangtani said Google also pays merchants 80 percent of their revenue share within four days and the rest within 90 days.
Google has been looking to upgrade its local deals efforts after getting spurned by Groupon last year. It’s been pretty steady so far in its expansion and hasn’t tried too many innovative ideas. I just used my first Google Offers last week in New York and the experience was similar to using a Groupon. Aggregating deals and adding personalization features are not terribly creative but they show that Google is trying to improve the process. And I like that it’s handling purchasing and dispute resolution in one place. I’d like to see Google arm its merchants with Android devices so they could collect vouchers digitally, which would make life easier for consumers and provide better data to businesses.
At this point, Google Offers is still no Groupon killer, even if that title is now less attractive with the questions mounting around Groupon’s business. But this market for local advertising and customer acquisition for merchants is still a huge opportunity and Google is still one of the best to exploit it. Little by little, it’s trying to get there.