Google bought a company last Friday called BufferBox. Never heard of them? They’re only two years old and they’re based in Canada, so that’s probably why. What exactly does BufferBox do? You know how annoying it is to order something off the internet and then have the mail guy repeatedly attempt to deliver it to your house? BufferBox fixes that by making a cabinet that can be installed in a central location. Stores send packages to this cabinet, which you then visit to pick up your package. Now this isn’t a new concept. Amazon has been testing such a service for months now. They call it the Amazon Locker. This writer also happens to be living in a country (Finland) where the national post office has been rolling this out as well.
The real question is why? Why exactly is Google buying up a company that deals with physical goods? We can think of a few good reasons. First, Google could offer other companies the ability to deliver packages to Google BufferBox facilities. Amazon’s Locker service is great if you ordered something from Amazon, but what about other stores? Second, Google can start competing with services like UPS, FedEX, and the United States Postal Service. No one likes dealing with those companies today; it’s an industry fit for disruption.
And finally third, Google could wire up those BufferBox facilities with ultra high speed internet, making them hotspots where people can download movies in just a few minutes to their smartphones. This is all just speculation on our part, but we’re definitely excited to see where this goes.
How much did Google pay for BufferBox? An official number wasn’t disclosed, but TechCrunch is reporting that two sources have said roughly $17 million. Not a lot when you think about it.