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Google acquires shipping locker firm BufferBox

Google this week acquired package shipping startup BufferBox for an undisclosed sum, the Web giant has confirmed.

Canadia-based BufferBox, founded less than two years ago, offers a parcel storage and pickup service similar to Amazon Locker. The company provides users with temporary lockers where they can retrieve packages they order online.

"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 spokeswoman said in a statement to PCMag.

BufferBox's service works like this: users sign up for a BufferBox shipping address, which is then provided to merchants when ordering items online. Once the package is delivered to one of BufferBox's self-serve kiosks, the user receives an email containing a code, which is used to open the storage unit containing their package.

The move to Google shouldn't be a trek for the BufferBox team, which works out of a startup incubator in Waterloo, just downstairs from Google's offices. In its announcement of the acquisition, BufferBox said it "couldn't be more excited" about its future as part of Google.

"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," the company said. "We are happy to share that it will be business as usual for our users and we are looking forward to continuing to build out the service."

Google's Waterloo engineering director Steve Woods told the Financial Post that Google plans to keep the BufferBox brand, and provide the company resources to help it grow.

"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," he told the publication.

BufferBox, led by University of Waterloo graduates Mike McCauley, Aditya Bali, and Jay Shah, graduated from Silicon Valley's Y Combinator accelerator program this summer. The company is currently offering its service for free in the Toronto area, but plans to eventually begin charging per package.

Amazon already has storage units for its Locker service at grocery and convenience stores like 7-Eleven. The Web giant also recently announced that its lockers are headed to Staples stores in the U.S. Meanwhile, this is not Google's first acquisition this week. The Web giant also picked up retail couponing firm Incentive Targeting.