In December, Groupon reportedly turned down a Google acquisition offer worth close to $6 billion. On Monday, daily deals startup The Dealmap confirmed it had been acquired by Google for an undisclosed price.
The Google Offers service being tested in a handful of cities looks like more of a direct challenge to Groupon, in terms of distributing promotions on behalf of specific merchants. Dealmap has the potential to be the Google News of deals, aggregating promotions advertised through other websites.
Consumers can search for daily specials and other Web coupons and see the locations of the businesses offering them on a map. Dealmap also distributes offers through location-aware mobile apps for the iPhone and Android phones.
The venture investing news site VentureBeat suggested Google is trying to play the daily deals game by its own rules. "At this point, the object of the game isn't to beat daily deal players like Groupon and LivingSocial per se; it's to become the simplest one-stop-shop for deal-seekers, then to integrate Google's own revenue-generating offers (and advertising) with the deals from more established players," reporter Jolie O'Dell wrote.
Dealmap also is technologically simpatico with Google, using a Mashup with Google Maps as the centerpiece of its website. Its application for Android phones, first released last September, was recognized as one of the best Android shopping applications by Lifehacker. Launched in May 2010, Dealmap said it topped 2 million users in April.
The Dealmap was originally a spin-off of Center'd, a consumer recommendations service that applies sentiment analysis techniques to reviews published on websites and blogs. Center'd "will continue to provide limited access to its SentimentAnalysis data in nine cities," according to a notice on its website. Dealmap itself will continue to support its current products and partners, at least until an integration roadmap for the combination with Google is announced.
Dealmap CEO Jennifer Dulski previously spent nine years as an executive at Yahoo, working on its services for local markets and commerce. Her co-founder and CTO Chandu Thota was previously the lead developer on Microsoft Virtual Earth.
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