Google has once again demonstrated its interest in online shopping and delivery with its purchase of Canadian startup BufferBox today. The two-year-old, Waterloo-based company provides locker storage service very similar to Amazon Locker, allowing customers to have products shipped and stored in a unit at universities and other central locations. Sources tell TechCrunch that Google paid over $17 million for the company.
Niether BufferBox nor Google revealed much about what the acquisition will lead to, but an engineering director at Google said BufferBox's ten person team, branding, and services would continue to function for "the foreseeable future," according to the Financial Post. Google, of course, has greater aspirations than storage lockers, and the engineering director admitted as much, continuing on to say that "we think there’s a real exciting space beyond this amazing start with boxes, and the idea of touching consumers as part of their end-to-end experience is something we’re going to explore together."
While details may be slim, the acquisition neatly fits into a larger narrative of Google expanding on its online shopping offerings. This year has seen the search company readdress its Google Shopping service, transforming it into a sponsored, pay-to-play list of product listings with the goal of improving the quality of results. Additionally, a New York Times report just last month said that the company had already begun internally trialling a same-day delivery service in San Francisco that would see Google facilitate the ordering and delivery process. While Google hasn't confirmed the existence of the trial, it is widely seen as a tactic to compete with Amazon, and fits into the greater narrative of organizations pursuing same-day delivery. The purchase of BufferBox will likely serve to aid Google in its future shopping offerings — whatever they might be.