Online search giant Google has acquired storage firm BufferBox for a reported sum of $17 million, providing a major thrust to its e-commerce plans, TechCrunch has reported.
BufferBox is a Canadian start-up that offers temporary storage lockers for customers to receive shopping purchases when they are not able to receive the parcel delivery in person.
Confirming the acquisition in a blog post, BufferBox stated: "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. 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."
The purchase gives a major push to Google's e-commerce ambitions to challenge the dominant Amazon.com.
BufferBox, with a network of storage lockers in and around Toronto, provides shipping addresses to users. After delivery, users can retrieve their parcel with an access code shared via email. The locker is then free to be used by a new user.
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BufferBox services come free of charge until the end of the year, according to PCWorld.
Google is one of the investors in the company and has its regional office located above BufferBox's headquarters.
Commenting on the acquisition ,Google stated in an email: "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."
The acquisition appears to be part of a concerted Google effort to move into e-commerce. Earlier, this year, Google announced plans to transition its product-search feature to a paid commercial model in the U.S., urging retailers to purchase space on the new Google Shopping Service.
In early November, Google unveiled new features for the service including better images of featured products and new way to compile shopping lists, the Washington Post reported.