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A New Daily Deal Site Lands

Outside Crif DogsIan Duncan Crif Dogs was the second downtown business to try Google Offers, a new daily deal site

Last week tech giant Google rolled out its daily deal service in New York, launching with two East Village businesses: Pommes Frites and Crif Dogs.

Twitter user @jamiedurante summed up the pairing neatly: “LOL @ yesterday and today’s google offers. It’s like they KNOW us!! #eastvillage #eats #options #fat”

Despite the less-than-healthy picks, Google’s entry into this fast-growing business could be significant as it can bring search, e-mail and its new social network Google+ to bear on consumers. It had been trialing its Google Offers service in Portland, Ore., expanding the test run last week to New York and the San Francisco Bay area.

Like some other neighborhood business owners, Brian Shebairo, owner of Crif Dogs, said he had been unconvinced by other deal sites. “I kind of turned my nose up at these deals,” he said. “The reason I did it with them is because they’re Google.”

Mr. Shebairo explained that he thinks Google has the size to make the daily deal idea successful. He added that the company created a marketing campaign for the hot dog restaurant and gave his staff Android cell phones to scan offer barcodes.

The site works along the same model as Groupon and Living Social. Users sign up to receive a daily e-mail offering a coupon for discounted goods or services. When the coupons are purchased Google sends money to the business up front and customers use them to pay in the store. Last Thursday, 1,035 coupons for Crif Dogs were sold through the site. On Wednesday, the launch, 1,198 were sold for Pommes Frites.

Google Offers Tag at Crif DogsIan Duncan A Google Offers tag at Crif Dogs.

Google takes a cut of each offer it sells. For example, the $5 Crif Dogs offer was good for $10 of food at the store. Google keeps half, with the rest going to the restaurant.

At Pommes Frites, staff members were tight-lipped about the offer. Manager Ivan Roque said he could not discuss the terms of the deal and owner Omer Shorshi did not respond to e-mail messages requesting comment.

On Ave. B, Toppling Those Angry Birds

DSC_0775Ian Duncan Matt Capucilli at the table where he made the best-selling iPad app Video Time Machine. He also painted the portrait.

The fifth floor of an Avenue B walk up might not seem like the most likely place to find a computer programmer with a best selling app. But from his kitchen table Matt Capucilli developed Video Time Machine, which is now riding high in the iTunes store.

Since the launch of the iPad app on June 17, it has been climbing the charts, and as of last night, was the most downloaded iPad application, knocking the wildly popular Angry Birds, off the top spot. The app was also climbing up the more competitive iPhone rankings, reaching number two in the entertainment category. The app lets users pick a year and one of seven genres — games, television, ads, news, sports, movies and music — and serves up relevant videos. Showing off how the app worked, Mr. Capucilli selected 1968 and TV, pulling up an episode of “The Gumby Show”.

Mr. Capucilli, who is 29, said the app aims to tap into nostalgia for old TV. “It’s discovery based on things you might have once come across before in your life,” he said, “things you didn’t remember you remember.”
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