The recent launch of Google Wallet shows Google is making a serious play in the mobile space.
The Google Wallet offering makes Google a part of the entire mobile purchase cycle from finding local merchants, right through to payment. However this is not the last mobile innovation we will see from Google.
Earlier this year, Google rolled out mobile “Check-in” offers to national retailers like Radio Shack, Arby’s and Macy’s. This service invites users to check-in at local merchants to unlock offers and special deals.
The good news is that Google looks likely to make these offers available to a wider range of businesses, perhaps nationally. According to a recently uncovered Google help page (via this post),
When users for businesses using Google for mobile devices, they’ll be able to access your Google Places Offer on their phone. You can also offer special deals to visitors if they check in online when they visit your business. Instead of printing out a paper coupon, customers can simply bring in their mobile device to redeem the offer — which means it’s a great and simple way to save trees, too!
All Google Places offers are created in both mobile and desktop formats, so all you have to do is create an offer. If you’d like to offer a check-in option, simply select the appropriate type of customer in the “Target customers” field when you create the offer.
From this help page it looks like Google will be providing mobile check-in offers to a much wider range of merchants. It also looks like this will be provided free of charge to merchants and offer some kind of targeting options.
This will help local businesses to reward local customers and market their business across mobile devices and social networks.
There has been no response from Google on an expected release date at this stage, but I would not say it is too far off.