There's really no substantitive information on what exactly that means, but the article can be summed up with this one paragraph,
"The online-search giant is working with advertisers such as Best Buy Co. and Macy’s Inc. (M) to create Web-based circulars, similar to the ad inserts included in newspapers. The new service will be available starting tomorrow, Mountain View, California-based Google said."
I think this is interesting for a variety of reasons:
- Google has tried (and mostly failed) to extend their coverage beyond search and it's adjacencies for a long time, especially in traditional media. Google TV, Google Newspaper, Google Magazine - all basically have failed for the behemoth. Here comes another shot.
- This is a bit of different approach - replicating the offline experience in online. It's almost as if Google is looking at Groupon (who they had a failed $6B acquisition of) and trying to replicate their success at connecting online marketing to offline business. I'm sure the devil will be in the details.
- Ad circulars online are replicating the offline experience. The question is - is this driven by the consumers' desire for that same experience or is this driven by the large advertisers feeling more comfortable buying media in this manner? My bet is on the former, which doesn't bode well for the future success of this local internet marketing strategy.