The initial launch of the beta service is in Portland, Ore., while residents of New York City, San Francisco and Oakland, Calif. are also able to sign-up in advance upcoming launches of Offers in their cities. Users need to register through Google, then will receive regular e-mails alerting them to deals and coupons in their area worth 50 percent or more off. This follows on reports back in January that Google was preparing a Groupon competitor. It’s unclear how Google will differ from Groupon and how it will compete with its rival Facebook in this space. Delivering a daily deal by itself is getting less interesting. Even Groupon is working toward more location-based, timely deals with Groupon Now, a new mobile app. Facebook is looking to exploit its social graph to make commerce more successful. There are ways to compete with Groupon: by taking a smaller cut from merchants or doing a better job establishing long-term relationships between merchants and customers. Get the full story at GigaOM