Google Confirms Coming Check-in Offers for Plus

Last week I reported out a discovered Google Places Help page (since taken down but visible here) that discussed using the Places Coupons as a Check-in Coupon for Google Plus. This afternoon the folks at VentureBeat received a confirmation from Google that check-in offers from Places will be coming to Google+ next week:

“While prepping for a test of a new check-in offer feature, we published a support center article a little early and have since removed the article. We apologize for any confusion this may have caused. Please stay tuned for roll out of this feature for merchants, which we’re targeting for next week.”

Hints of a Places based check-in offer surfaced as far back as May when it appeared that they would be heading to Lattitude. Obviously the roll out of Plus shortly after that changed Google’s plan.

Offers have a long and sorry history in Google Places. Originally introduced as Coupons in 2007, they were largely hidden from public view for most of their existence. Google Coupons saw some successes during 2007 and 2008 having partnered up with ValPak but by early 2009 Places coupons had completely tanked due to lack of visibility. They made a brief reappearance in the main search results along with the Google’s fixed price local ad product Tags in June, 2010. In November of last year, Google changed the name of the free Place based Coupons to Offers just before the failed acqusition talks with Groupon and the subsequent roll-out of Groupon like deals called, confusingly, Offers.

Will the oft maligned Places Coupons Offers finally get their day in the sun? A free, easy to use check-in offer might give the feature much needed exposure and a new life, motivating smbs to revisit the Places feature and perhaps also leading them to think seriously about a Google Plus business page.

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Google Confirms Coming Check-in Offers for Plus by

8 thoughts on “Google Confirms Coming Check-in Offers for Plus”

  1. A simple question… does this “new” product make life easier, simpler, or more succinct for the user? I hate to sound like a Google basher but it seems like they keep launching a whole bunch of me to products that don’t really provide the customer with real value. Am I wrong?

  2. @Mark
    The coupon creation process is simple. There has never been a way to effectively use them. If this provides that and helps drive sales then they will be adopted regardless of the the need to use one more product (plus).

    The constraining problem is probably not complexity (although that is a concern) but the chicken/egg issue of getting users/businesses to use Plus.

  3. @Mike re: “The constraining problem is probably not complexity (although that is a concern) but the chicken/egg issue of getting users/businesses to use Plus.”

    There is no chicken/ egg problem if there is real demand for a product. Build it and they will come comes to mind (especially when you have a billion plus users). Google’s copycat Plus product does not address a need of the marketplace and does not, effectively, beat an alternative product (Facebook).

    The problem with Google is that their business model, now, is predicated on building products that copy competitors with the caveat that Google does not want to hire the people necessary to make their product work. In the end the user is left with something that works pretty good but has no real customer support should something go wrong.

    In writing the above I realized that in recent months I, personally, have become very anti-Google in my rhetoric. Thinking it through I believe this comes from an underlying unease with the way Google runs their business. To me it seems they have crossed an invisible line into shameless corporate behemoth that does not create new and interesting products. Instead they use their clout to copy upstarts, dilute the market, and leave the audience with a mediocre product. To prove my point please name one product that Google created and introduced (not copied or purchased) in the last year that is truly trans-formative to the user experience AND has been adopted widely by the targeted audience.

  4. @Mark

    Disproving a negative is very difficult (ie your comment To prove my point please name one product that Google created and introduced (not copied or purchased) in the last year that is truly trans-formative to the user experience AND has been adopted widely by the targeted audience.

    I would challenge you to show me any truly transformative website that has rolled out in the last year that has been widely adopted. Any and all successes are incremental. Google is just by a different standard than most and bring many competitive advantages to that playground. But as my father says, if you have potatoes, you make potato soup. It may not be an original recipe but if they make enough of it, they still are doing what stock holders want.

    My point does not diminish the fact that many people are now realizing that they are behaving and will continue to behave like every other shameless corporation on the planet. That is disturbing to many that held the belief that they are somehow better/different/less evil…. they are none of those things… no less or more moral than any corporation..

    I have been arguing for years that they will be held to the same measure as any other corporation and in the end, the only thing that matters is profit. Welcome to America in the new millenium. That may disappoint some, but it is reality. Only the end of capitalism will change this, not whether Google is sued under antitrust or brought to heal by Facebook.

    @Stan

    Schemer may be doing but not through the Places dashboard…. that coupon integration is still “coming soon”. Thanks for the invite, invite.

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