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A Week in Google: On Readying a Groupon Clone and Replacing a CEO

This week Google lost a CEO and gained a deal-of-the-day site that, to the surprise of exactly no one, behaves a lot like Groupon. 

Google Offers

As you probably already know, late last year Groupon turned down Google's US$ 6 billion dollar acquisition offer after the Internet giant allegedly declined to pay the gigantic kill fee that would have incurred if the deal was opposed. Since then, Groupon has announced its plan to go public in 2011 at a proposed valuation of US$ 15 billion.

Nice. 

Google's response? Offer up a clone, of course. The brand spankin' new Google Offers looks and behaves much like Groupon or LivingSocial: Users receive an e-mail with a local deal of the day that they may purchase within a specific time limit (e.g a $100 dollar dinner for $50). Once a specified number of people have purchased the same deal, the Google Offer is triggered and users reap the benefits:

google-offers.jpg

It looks like Google Offers will be powered by Google Checkout, and includes Facebook, Twitter, Google Reader, Google Buzz and e-mail sharing options.

There aren't many details out other than that, but Google responded to Mashable's inquiry's with the following statement: 

Google is communicating with small businesses to enlist their support and participation in a test of a pre-paid offers/vouchers program. 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. We do not have more details to share at this time, but will keep you posted.

Eric Schmidt Steps Down as Google’s CEO

Yesterday it was announced that Google’s Eric Schmidt is ending his 10-year run as CEO, and will be replaced by Google co-founder Larry Page.

"…as Google has grown, managing the business has become more complicated," explained Schmidt in Google's official announcement. "So Larry, Sergey and I have been talking for a long time about how best to simplify our management structure and speed up decision making—and over the holidays we decided now was the right moment to make some changes to the way we are structured."

Schmidt's explanation of his role change is seen by many as a nice way of acknowledging what former Google designer Douglas Bowman said when he famously left the Internet giant in 2009:

Yes, it’s true that a team at Google couldn’t decide between two blues, so they’re testing 41 shades between each blue to see which one performs better. I had a recent debate over whether a border should be 3, 4 or 5 pixels wide, and was asked to prove my case. I can’t operate in an environment like that. I’ve grown tired of debating such minuscule design decisions. There are more exciting design problems in this world to tackle.

What else does the change mean? Check out some deeper concerns here

Google Voice Tests Number Portability for a Price

It appears Google Voice is gearing up for a mainstream year. For just a few hours between Wednesday night and Thursday morning, the Internet giant previewed a feature that's certain to piss off mobile carriers in a big way: number portability.

Number portability for Google Voice allows users to transfer their mobile number from one service to another. The feature has been highly anticipated, but it's not without risk. (If you're under contract with your current carrier, for example, you will incur an early termination fee for moving over your phone number to Google, just as you would for moving between carriers.)

Today Google Voice enables users to make and receive phone calls directly from Gmail, but developments like number porting open up doors for even more convenient communication on top of what's already in the realm of possibility: making calls from Google TV (which sports Android), from a tablet computer, or any other Internet-connected device. Voice is also a gateway into Google's other services, including the Enterprise, where eliminating carriers and VoIP boxes would be excellent news for small to medium-size business owners.

 

 
 
 
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