What Is Google Doing to Answer Deals?

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2010-11-07 Print this article Print


Still, there's no doubt Google doesn't have anything like Facebook Deals.

Google has Google Places, which lets businesses claim their Place pages on Google.com and Google Maps. These businesses may set up their own ads using Google Boost and call even more attention to products and services with Tags.

But there is really no social component; that exists in separate products called Google Latitude and Google Buzz for mobile.

Latitude is a friend-finding app that has between 3 million and 4 million users, though how many are active is less clear.

Google Buzz for mobile lets users check in by posting status updates from their mobile phone, so in a way it's a little like Facebook Places, albeit without the big social network in the background.

Forrester Research analyst Augie Ray is skeptical of Google's prospects for these products, which are not used to tie consumers to the local businesses in Google Places, versus Deals and Foursquare.

"Many of the people using Latitude have not connected with any friends, it lacks the sort of game mechanics that have driven engagement with other location platforms, and many of the users have activated Latitude on their phone and then generally forgotten about it," Ray said.

Moreover, Ray doesn't see how Google adding check-ins to Latitude, Buzz for mobile or Places would lure consumers away from the points, mayorships and deals being offered by Foursquare, Gowalla and Facebook Deals.

Ray also suggested that Google may want to collaborate rather than compete with Facebook, noting that with Facebook opening up its Places API, Google and others can take consumers' check-in data and behaviors and turn it into something valuable.

Yet given Google's latest action of banning Facebook from automatically enabling users to import their Gmail contacts into the social network, a snowball might stand a better chance in hell than Google using Facebook's Places API. 


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