Google acquires BufferBox, provider of delivery lockers

The Canadian startup could help Google build out its e-commerce efforts.

Casey Newton Former Senior Writer
Casey Newton writes about Google for CNET, which he joined in 2012 after covering technology for the San Francisco Chronicle. He is really quite tall.
Casey Newton
2 min read

Google said today that it has acquired BufferBox, which rents temporary lockers to be used as shipping addresses for more convenient parcel deliveries.

"We want to remove as much friction as possible from the shopping experience, while helping consumers save time and money, and we think the BufferBox team has a lot of great ideas around how to do that," a Google spokesperson told CNET in an e-mail.

BufferBox has set up storage lockers in and around Toronto. Users sign up and receive a shipping address they can use with online merchants. When packages arrive, users receive a single-use PIN via e-mail. They punch it in at the locker and retrieve the package at their convenience.

It's one of a growing number of temporary locker services, the largest of which is operated by Amazon. Amazon recently signed deals with Radio Shack and Staples to bring its lockers into stores.

Less than two years old, the Waterloo, Ontario startup is a recent graduate of the Y Combinator startup accelerator program. It had raised about $3 million from angel investors. The service will continue to operate, with the team remaining in the Waterloo area to work with the Google Shopping team there. (According to the Financial Post, BufferBox's Waterloo offices are in the same building as Google's.)

"As online shopping becomes a bigger part of how you buy products, we look forward to playing a part in bringing that experience to the next level," BufferBox said in a blog post.

Google's interest in BufferBox was reported by GigaOm earlier this month.