Google Inc. has launched testing of Google Offers, a product that could rival the popular Groupon daily deal voucher website.
The move to develop such a service comes after Google reportedly tried and failed to buy Chicago-based Groupon for as much as $6 billion.
"Google is communicating with small businesses to enlist their support and participation in a test of a pre-paid offers/vouchers program," Nate Tyler, a Google spokesman, said. "This initiative is part of an ongoing effort at Google to make new products, such as the recent Offer Ads beta, that connect businesses with customers in new ways. He provided no other details.
Google's approach with Google Offers is likely to be similar to that of Groupon, which teams with local businesses to offer discounted products and services that are issued only when a set number of people agree to purchase the deal. Groupon's deals usually are offered only with a specific business in a specific city.
Groupon's profile has risen in recent months, particularly after the reports of Google wanting to buy it. Founded in November 2008, Groupon recently raised $950 million in financing. The website operates in 35 countries and has more than 50 million subscribers.
Groupon's revenue comes from taking a cut from each discount coupon it sells.