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Understanding Google My Business & Local Search

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.