You can add Google Offers, the fledgling daily deals service available in San Francisco, the Bay Area, Portland and New York City, to the short list.
Google this past week began touting this Offer for the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan:
Clicking through shows me this deal, worth 80 percent off:
That’s some kind of deal, though Google has a long way to go before catching Groupon or LivingSocial in this increasingly commoditized local deals market.
I asked Google about this, and a spokesperson told me:
“Yesterday we provided a link on our homepage in New York City to a Google Offer for the American Museum of Natural History. We occasionally include a link on the Google homepage that points users to important information, whether it be about a relevant cause, a new product or an offer. We believe that users can benefit from learning about great deals from local organizations.“
Translation: Google only advertises its products when it really, really wants to sell something.
Let’s call this what it is — a house ad. My guess is Offers, which is far too limited in scope now to compete with the incumbents, needs a lift as it waits for Google Wallet to take off this summer.
I don’t mind seeing ads on the homepage of Google.com, but I wouldn’t typically see them anyway because I use iGoogle.
One wonders when we’ll see such ads in Google+. I see great synergies in receiving Offers in my Gmail account based on things I’m discussing in Google+, or even clicking the +1 button in the future.
How do you feel about receiving Google Offers or other Google-focused promotions on Google.com?