Facebook Adds Social Shopping, Online Deals

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Facebook aims to give Groupon a run for its money, with plans to launch an online shopping deals program that provides local restaurant, service and attraction discounts already well under way.

Facebook Deals is currently being promoted via a new landing page, and initial rollouts and tests will occur in five cities, including Atlanta, Austin, Dallas, San Francisco and San Diego. Subscribers can register to receive running updates with new bargains and sale coupons, invite friends to subscribe and enjoy offers from a variety of local merchants. No announcement has been made yet about whether the service will require a minimum number of buyers to purchase featured discount services before deals are activated, as with Groupon.

Facebook, which now boasts more than 600 million users, says you can use the service to “try new things with friends – with Deals you can easily find great new restaurants, shows and group activities to share.” Beyond running deal updates and feeds, users will also be able to access check-in deals via their smartphones.

From LivingSocial to Tippr, social buying services are currently experiencing meteoric growth, with even Internet search giant Google planning its own entrant, Google Offers, shortly.