Google Inc., after failing to acquire daily-deals website Groupon Inc., said it is preparing to test a competing service (Google offers) that offers deals to local businesses such as restaurants. Nate Tyler, a Google spokesman, said the company is “communicating with small businesses to enlist their support and participation in a test of a prepaid offers/vouchers program.

In an article released on Mashable, Google Offers will be powered by Google Checkout. It also includes Facebook, Twitter, Google Reader, Google Buzz and e-mail sharing options.

Groupon, which received a nearly $1 billion in private investment after walking away from the Google offer, has been hearing proposals from investment banks about a proposed initial public offering.

Google may be working on a way to allow customers to pay for goods at local shops with their mobile phone using what is called near-field communication technology they acquired last year from zetwire.

Yahoo!7 has acquired an Australian group buying site Spreets for $40 million just 12 months after the site launched to provide the local market with similar functionality as multi-billion-dollar US company, Groupon.

Spreets, the first group-buying site in Australia and New Zealand, has half a million members, with more than 274,000 vouchers purchased since its launch.

In Australia, Yahoo operates its sites through Yahoo!7, a joint venture between the global company and local television and media group the Seven Network.