BufferBox Ending Standalone Service, Closing Down Pick-Up Locations And Rolling Into Google

Waterloo-based BufferBox, which was acquired by Google in November 2012, is shutting down its standalone service. The company sent an email to members today alerting them to the news, stating in no uncertain terms that BufferBox will cease to operate as a service distinct from Google, and that the team and tech will be rolled into Google products and efforts to build out future Google Shopping products.

From the email sent to BufferBox members:

At Google, 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)

BufferBox warehouses will stop taking in packages on March 31, and the last day that any deliveries will be available for pickup from any BufferBox locations, which are currently available to customers in the Greater Toronto/Waterloo and San Francisco areas. The SF expansion of BufferBox only took place last September, so it’s interesting to see the service shutting down so soon on the heels of that growth.

Existing histories of parcel deliveries can be downloaded by BufferBox users for their records, but it’s still likely a blow to those members. The team will be devoting its efforts to building Google Shopping Express, however, which means SF shoppers at least will likely see some kind of service alternative made available soon.

Early reaction to the announcement via comments on BufferBox’s official blog indicates there’s a lot of blowback from the service’s Canadian users. The sad truth is that those customers were probably not a huge consideration, relative to the benefits of rolling BufferBox’s talent, tech and resources into the search giant’s main commerce initiatives.

Thanks for the tip, Alex Cox!