Microsoft's Bing taps into online coupon fever

The search engine will serve up links to 200,000 coupons and offers from businesses in 14,000 US cities

Microsoft is responding to the online coupon frenzy by adding results about special deals to its Bing search engine, both on its desktop and mobile versions.

The new feature, provided in partnership with deal aggregator website The Dealmap, lets Bing serve up links to 200,000 coupons and offers from businesses in 14,000 U.S. cities.

The offers come from online coupon providers like Groupon, Living Social and Restaurant.com, Microsoft said on Thursday in a blog post.

The goal is to make it easier for Bing users "to discover, share and search for the best deals in your area -- all from one place," wrote Andy Chu, a Microsoft director of product management.

Online coupon sites have taken off in a big way in the past year, led by Groupon, a daily deals website founded in late 2008 that recently closed a funding round worth almost US$1 billion after turning down a reported $6 billion acquisition offer from Google.

Yahoo and Google are developing their own services for deals and coupons.

Announced in November, Yahoo's program is called Local Offers and will provide deals, offers and coupons from local merchants. Yahoo's initial partners include Groupon, LivingSocial, DealOn, Zozi, Tippr, Coupons.com and Valpak.

Meanwhile, Google is testing a program with small businesses focused on pre-paid offers and vouchers, the company said recently.

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