May 9, 2012

More Product Convergence: Offers (And More) Coming To Maps For Android (video)

Having just one app for Google Offers is so 24 hours ago. In addition to the standalone app, Google is baking Offers right into one of their most popular apps: Google Maps. This comes as part of an update that also brings indoor walking directions and 360-degree indoor panoramas to U.S. and Japanese users. The latter two updates are no-brainers. Google has been allowing businesses in U.S. and Japan to upload indoor photos and provide indoor maps for some time now. The Google Offers integration hints at something more important. Google's clearly got big plans for Offers.

This integration, in fact, is part of a larger initiative to allow businesses to create their own "free" offers and have them displayed in Google Maps. In addition to the regular pre-paid coupon deals provided by Google Offers, Groupon, LivingSocial and many others, Google is letting businesses give stuff away for free, like a free book or a free desert with purchase of a meal.

Google Offers has thus far lagged behind the other big players. This will undoubtedly give it more visibility. Google Maps comes preinstalled on hundreds of millions of Android devices. The app is also found on iOS devices like the iPhone and the iPad, but no word yet on when these devices will start pointing you to some free stuff.