If you can't beat them join them. And, in Google's world - if you can't join them (i.e. buy them out) then take them on and pummel them into submission.

That surely must be the thinking behind Google's latest foray into our wallets - Google Offers, which has popped up online, and is currently operating a fairly low key trial in Portland, Oregon.

The Google Offers Beta looks to be a Groupon replica, with the landing page promising that it offers "a new smart way to bring in customers right to your door using an attractive offer". It states "50 per cent or more at places you'll love".

Google, if you remember, tried to buy Groupon in December 2010 for a rumoured $6 billion.

And the timing of the beta launch couldn't be more apt with Reuters reporting that Margo Georgiadis, vice president of global sales operations at Google, will become COO at Chicago-based Groupon, overseeing the company's global sales, marketing and operations.

It's Portland only at the moment, but NYC (uptown, downtown and midtown), Oakland / East Bay and San Francisco are all on a dropdown list - so expect to see it arrive in those places too soon.