Google has launched a beta test of a Groupon clone called Offers, which promises to wring every remaining ounce of patience out of local merchants already besieged by the online coupon business.

Groupon turned down a reported $6 billion offer from Google late last year, so Google went ahead with its own group coupon service. Google's "Offers" service is test launching in Portland, but the Offers site is accepting early sign ups for New York and the San Francisco Bay Area, as well. Which means more highly aggressive salesmen for local business owners to deal with; more entitled customers to handle; and, for those that participate, another middleman coming around to collect much of the cash in their registers. But, who knows, maybe Google engineers have devised some way for both small business and Google's pampered employees to win here.