Google’s deals service Google Offers launches in Miami, Florida today, with two kickoff specials now available. Offers, Google’s take on the Groupon model, initially launched in June, and expanded last month into five additional cities: Austin, Boston, D.C., Denver and Seattle. Including its original test market of Portland, plus the Bay Area and New York City, Google Offers now serves 13 areas. (New York and Bay Area markets are split up into smaller units, e.g. NYC Uptown, Midtown and Downtown).
The first two offers in Miami include a restaurant deal at Joe’s Stone Crab, a Miami eatery since 1913, and a deal for Fandango movie tickets, at $5 each.
Like Groupon, Google Offers have limited windows in which you can purchase the coupon. But unlike Groupon, Google doesn’t have a tipping point for the deal. If only one person buys the deal, it’s active. Groupon’s return policy (indefinite) is better than Google Offers (60 days), as is its customer support (a toll-free number vs. having to enter your phone number via a website and wait for a call back).
Update: To clarify, Google provides a toll-free number on its vouchers, but not on its website.
But while Groupon is more of a standalone deals entity, Google ties Offers into its other services, including its business listing and reviews provider Google Places, Android (via the Google Shopper mobile app) and even Google Wallet, which enables Google to track the entire cycle surrounding customer behavior, from discovery to redemption to checkout.