Google has launched the new Google Offers beta program today in Portland, Ore. We heard about it last night at the D9 Conference when Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt took the stage, and now the website is live and ready to send offers to your inbox.
What is it, you ask? Everyone was pretty sure Google wanted to get into the online deals game when they tried to buy Groupon, and today we see that they have had this in the works for a while. As it stands now, you can sign up at the Google Offers beta website, and online coupons are sent to your inbox, ready to buy, print, and redeem at local Portland business. The transaction goes right through Google Checkout, and seems pretty seamless. The initial offer (you can check it out at the source links) is for Floyd's Coffee Shop -- $10 worth of pastries for $3. Other announced partners are Le Bistro Montage, Powell's Books, and Ground Kontrol Classic Arcade. If you're not in Portland, Google says offers are coming soon for New York and San Francisco, and you can sign up to be notified when it rolls around to your area.
The real power behind Google Offers is the integration with Google Wallet. The demonstration shown last night at D9 shows tight integration with the NFC point-of-sale platform, so we're all chomping at the bit to give it a try. Your offers are saved to the application, and we assume the NFC chip and point-of-sale machine cooperate to confirm the transaction. Google is clearly aiming to replace hard currency here, and it will be interesting to see how this all develops, and how well businesses adapt and get on board. No word on when exactly we'll be able to check it all out, but Google says they will be releasing teh Wallet app for the Nexus S 4G "soon". In the meantime, I have to call Floyd's Coffee Shop and see if they can ship me my pastries. Check out a short product demo from Google after the break.
YouTube link for mobile viewing