Google purchased Bufferbox, a startup offering shipping items to public lockers, back in 2012. Now the search giant is shutting down the service, integrating the Bufferbox team and technology into Google Shopping Express.
Bufferbox offered a very unique shipping service in that it allowed users to ship items to publicly-accessible lockers. This was especially useful for such users who couldn’t have items shipped to their homes or residences. When Google acquired the startup two years ago, the initial plan was to let the Bufferbox team work as is under Google.
However, it now seems that there’s been a change in plans. Bufferbox team has now announced that it is winding down the shipping service, closing new sign ups starting from today. Moreover, the service will be accepting shipping packages until March 31 while users must pick up their packages from Bufferbox lockers no later than April 21.
According to the official announcement, “We’re constantly looking for new ways to help people buy their favorite products online faster and easier, and as always, it’s important to evaluate the areas where we focus our efforts. That’s why we’ve made the difficult decision to begin winding down the standalone BufferBox service, instead bringing the learnings, technology and expertise of the team to future Google Shopping products, like Google Shopping Express (currently available in the San Francisco Bay Area).”
While the future seems promising for the Bufferbox team, its customers are not particularly happy. The comments under the aforementioned post range from disappointing to downright raging. Most customers, it would appear, are based in Canada which is understandable since Bufferbox started off in Waterloo. And now that Bufferbox team is withdrawing in favor of a US-only service, namely Google Shopping Express, they are not happy.
One comment, for instance, notes, “Seriously? Bufferbox has been a life-changing service which freed me from the lackluster delivery service I got from Canada Post. Google, please reconsider your position on closing down the service. Due to living in an apartment, and the closest Canada Post office having lackluster service hours, it made ordering always an event. Receiving that “Parcel Ready for pickup” email always made my day.”
Another user is particularly critical of Google’s decision, ‘Typical Google. Close a Canadian service and suggest we move to something that’s only available in the US.’
The instance raises an interesting question about the acquisition of startups based outside U.S. by tech giants in the U.S. While the startup teams stand to garner a significant pile of cash as a result of such acquisitions, customers at the native regions stand to lose in the long-term.
Courtesy: The Verge