What’s Appening? Announcing the New Groupon iPad App 1.5!

Today, just in time for Grouponicus, we’re announcing our latest, greatest and substantially upgraded iPad app – Groupon HD for iPad (v.1.5).

iPad 1.5 is our first major refresh since we launched our original app in April 2011, and brings our iPad app up to par with our highly-rated iPhone and Android apps.

Features of the iPad 1.5 include:

  • A gorgeous new look that that makes it easier to explore Local deals, Groupon Goods and Getaways
  • An all-new “Nearby” tab, including:
    • A gallery view of deals close by
    • A new “map view” that lets you see exactly where all your nearby deals are located
    • The ability to filter deals by category (e.g., Food & Drink, Health & Beauty) to make it faster to find the deals you really want
  • Improved Facebook iOS 6 integration for sharing your deals
  • Support for promotional and gift codes
  • Support for six new markets: Singapore, Sweden, Netherlands, Australia, Hong Kong and Brazil

With this release, our iPad app will be available in the U.S., Canada and eleven other markets around the world. And the timing couldn’t be better; according to a survey conducted by Mary Meeker at VC firm Kleiner Perkins, iPad adoption has been historically fast – it’s grown 3x faster in its first 10 quarters than even the mighty iPhone!

So please join us in welcoming the new iPad 1.5 app available in the iPad App Store today and let us know what you think of it in the comments below!

David Katz

GM Consumer Mobile

Drone Games [VIDEO]

If you didn’t hear about the Drone Games, a flying drone competition for Silicon Valley’s developer community, now you can see them in action!

From Air Drones over Mifi, to robotic claw arms, to virtual joysticks in the app which served as a remote, a lot of 1s and 0s went into making the Drone Games possible. Check out our full story on all these masterful minds.

Play “Head and Seek” for a Chance to Win a $1,000 Groupon Shopping Spree!

The holidays are inching towards us this Grouponicus and we’re doing our best to stop and smell the ice sculptures before they melt. Not only are we busying ourselves with providing gift suggestions catered to your friends, family, and frenemies, but we’re also giving you the opportunity to win a $1000 Groupon shopping spree!

Interested? Read on…

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Holiday Survey Says…

In an effort to bring you a wide variety of gifting options that cater to those you’re happy or forced to shop for, we performed a survey asking our customers about their gifting challenges this holiday season. Of the 1,001 people polled, 60% reported that finding the right gift is the top holiday shopping challenge, followed by staying within budget (56%) and dealing with holiday crowds, long lines and traffic (50%). Here’s what others had to say:

Most Difficult to Shop For

  • Someone who has everything is the most difficult person to shop for says 68% . . .
  • . . . Followed by the unclassified love interest (not an official significant other or ex) (33%)
  • Over ¼ of people said frenemies are the most difficult to shop for

Biggest Fears for Those Shopping for an Unclassified Love Interest

  • Not knowing whether the recipient plans to give a gift in return (36%)
  • Giving something that is too impersonal (28%)
  • Women who have shopped/considered shopping for and unidentified love interest appeared to struggle with this more than men

Let the Re-Gifting Begin

  • Despite misguided tokens of affection at Valentine’s Day or wedding gifts not on the registry, the vast majority of respondents agreed that the holidays are the #1 time of year when recipients are most likely to get a bad gift

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Groupon Hosts the First Drone Games

Close to 30 hackers launched their programmable quadcopters over a cheering crowd at the first ever Drone Games, a flying drone competition for Silicon Valley’s developer community at Groupon San Francisco this past Saturday.

Helicopter on a leash.

The prizes went to James Halliday, team Stanford (Eric Smalls, John Backus & Omar Ritzwan), and Nathan Rajlich. “We looked at three factors: first, was the idea unique? Second, how difficult was the technical challenge? And thirdly, execution: did the demo actually work?” said Chris Anderson of Wired and 3D Robotics who headed the panel of judges. Also judging were Dale Dougherty of Make: magazine, Gever Tulley of Brightworks, Andreas Raptopoulos of Matternet, and Drew Olanoff of TechCrunch.

Winners of the First Drone Games

In a huge step for drone security, winner James Halliday demonstrated a drone that could take over other drones by infecting them with a virus. Stanford students Eric Smalls, John Backus and Omar Ritzwan came in second with their swarm of AR drones controlled by a single computer. Bronze medalist Nathan Rajlich liberated his AR drone from the confines of Wi-Fi with his hack to fly it using the cellular network, promising remote control over long distances.

Among the other demos showcased were hacks for facial recognition (Mark Harrison of Pixar), hand gesture control (Twitter team), hovering above moving objects (Stanford team), and a drone retrofitted with an Arduino-controlled robotic arm (Max Ogden). Groupon engineers Ulf Schwekendiek, Tuomas Artman, Hung Dao and Thavidu Ranatunga demonstrated a drone that tweeted photos of the faces it recognized.

Drone Games 2012 Judges and Organizers

The impact of these hacks could be far-reaching. Developers no longer need a PhD and security clearance to write software for flying drones. The same functions every Web programmer uses to build apps can now make drones navigate, take pictures, find people, fly through windows, and play games. Could drones deliver mail, transport items and even people? Ideas like these are no longer the exclusive domain of science fiction writers. Even if they sound far fetched, the Drone Games convinced me of one thing: the worldwide community of hackers can push the edge of what is possible further much faster than any single group or organization.

Jyri Engestrom
Director of Product Management and Drone Games co-organizer

Click through to see the final standings:

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Take the Guesswork out of Gifting

Happy Grouponicus!

If you’re wanting to take the guesswork out of gifting, or have someone special in your life who is so special it’s nearly impossible to shop for them–we’re here to help! Our gifting-experts, our personable, helpful and friendly Grouponceirges, are standing at attention and ready to answer your gift questions and help you decide.

Just head to the great WWW on Twitter, and tell us about the giftee by filling in the blank!

@Groupon I need a gift idea for a ______ who lives in _____ and is into _____. #GrouponGifts”

We’ll scour Groupon.com for you and see if we can find the right match for you!

Want to do a little hunting yourself? Head to Groupon.com/Gifts to browse all of the suggestions (“sug-giftions”?) on the Gift Finder widget and we’ll provide many more great ideas they’re sure to love!