I wrote last time about Google Offers and today they have finally released it to the public. Floyd’s Coffee Shop in Portland is the first official Google offers location. As I was writing this the number of remaining went down from 425 to 395 in about 20 minutes…so congratulations to both of you.
Now I wanted to give you a few more updates from the big brains at Google that happened in May 2011. On the heels of Google Offers, Google has just announced another service called Google Wallet. This is their take on the next generation of smart phones with contactless smart card technology (sort of like the old Mobil gas station speed pass) that will make.
Basically you will wave your phone over an in store credit card reader and without using your credit card, you can make a credit card purchase. While Google is not the first to have this technology, they are the first to link it all together. They are linking payments with coupons and offers, online and offline redemption and location based promotions. These major retailers have already signed on to the service.
Not only will you be able to pay for your purchase but MOST importantly coupons and other special offers will be displayed on your phone and you will earn points for making purchases at Google affiliated retailers. Think about it, coupons and special offers based on your cell phone location linked to Google Places, and Google Offers. Who knows, maybe they will send you a coupon to Starbucks just before you step into your local coffee shops. In this play, the options are limitless and they have extended the coupon seamlessly from the computer to the phone.
They have also announced a line of laptops that are cloud based and you basically pay for them on a monthly basis called Chromebooks. Pricing will be about $28 per user for business and $20 per user for educational institutions per month.
There is another brand spanking new Google Service…. it is called Google +1 (pronouced as Plus One). It will be very similar to the Facebook Like button but instead up voting on Facebook you will be interacting with Google +1 everywhere on the web and it will keep track of your votes and display them to your friends. Getting started with the service as a website owner will be easy – you will simply insert some small code into your website and once installed people will be able to give you site an upvote or a “+1” Think of it like a verb – I just +1’d that site or that product.
Google is positioning +1 as a recommendation system, where you can give you stamp of approval or up vote for a website. This information will be shared with your other friends to help make it easier for them to find relevant info on the search engine. Think of it as a way to share a tip or suggestion, rather than sending an email or a link to the product, service page. It is your annotation that your friends can use to see your input on a certain link.
Pretty soon you will be able to +1 everything from Coffee Makers, to attorneys, to restaurant links and even other websites in the search results. And once it is officially launched you will be able to go to the Google +1 Webmaster Central interface and get a +1 button for your site.
One of the prerequisites to using the new +1 service will be a public Google profile, you can claim yours at https://profiles.google.com/and this is where my interpretation comes in.
If Google is really trying to take some of the thunder from Facebook by suggesting that users +1 rather than clicking the like button then build a social network already…don’t just provide the features of a social networking site like chat (google chat), Photo Sharing (picassa), email (gmail), your contacts (google Contacts) get off your butts and actually build a competitive social networking site.