Google Places for business seems to have everyone guessing at the moment. What is the new, still unannounced Google response to Group On?
Is it Google Offers? But aren’t Google Offers merely the yellow Tags advertised in November 2010 as a fee-based add-on to a regular Google Places listing?
There are coupon offers available on many Google Places listings for businesses. Are these the same as the Google Places optional free feature to offer discounts alongside one’s business listing?
Both TechCrunch and TheNextWeb ran stories about the potentially new Google Offers product within the past 24 hours. Various experts weighed in via the comments, raising many of the issues I just mentioned.
From my own personal experiences with Google Places for business listings, I am inclined to believe that nothing new has happened. However, I’ve seen two items to the contrary. I’m not the only person who observed this.
Evidence regarding of the existence, or non-existence, of a new Google Offers product:
- I don’t recall any mention of a product named Google Offers. Google is very specific about such things. I confirmed the claims that listings for Google Offers were now visible as results on Google Search. Is this new? One way to confirm is by running a web cache search for the same query and businesses for one of more dates in the two-three months between introduction of Google Places with Tags and now. This assumes that I can find some businesses who were running Google Tags and/ or coupon offers continuously between mid-November and now. I will try that after publishing this post.
- Google announced a new iGoogle widget in some places, for the express purpose of identifying Google Offers. Google explicitly states that this widget is new. When did Google first offer the widget? Is this significant on its own if I cannot get confirmation for item 1?
As I was hunting around for more clues, I found yet another product with which I was unfamiliar: Google Boost.
I have copy-and-pasted the text from the https secured service login page below. I haven’t clicked the links or checked the available service areas yet.
New! Get more local customers with Google Boost
Advertise your business on Google search and Google Maps
Done in minutes: Simply pick business categories, choose ad text, and set a budget
Automatically managed: Boost manages everything and figures out where to show your ad
Pay only for success: You only pay when potential customers click on your ad
Google Boost is set up from within your free Google Places account. Google Places helps your business get found on Google Search and Maps. If you don’t already have a Places account, we’ll set you up with one first. Learn more.
Boost is currently available for select categories in select locations. To get started, sign in with your Google Account or create a new one.
Is Google Boost the real Google product response to Group On?
Or is Google Boost actually an existing product about which I am unaware because it is not offered in my geographic area? Stay tuned! Answers will be obtained in short order!