Student (or play one)? Here, have $50 off a Kindle HD 8.9-inch, now starting at $249

From 9to5Toys.com:

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If you are a student (or have access to a .edu email address), Amazon is having a special New Years Day deal on the Kindle HD 8.9. The online retailing giant is offering $50 off the price of an 8.9-inch Kindle Fire that yields a $249 price.

Exclusive Discount on Kindle Fire 8.9″
Special pricing available only to Amazon Student Members with an active Prime account (free six-month or $39/year plan). Join Amazon Student or start your [$39/year] discounted Prime membership to take advantage of this sale. The promo codes below will become available 24 hours after activation of your account, through January 30. New members, don’t forget to check your .edu email and verify your account.

How to Redeem This Deal
Place a Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ or a Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ 4G LTE Wireless in your cart. At checkout, enter the promo code KNDL4STU. If you are an Amazon Student member in a free or paid Prime plan, the discount will be applied to the items in your cart. This promo code may be redeemed once per customer. offer good only while supplies last. Read more

Google buys self-serve package pickup startup BufferBox

bufferbox

As noted by a blog post on the BufferBox blog and a report from the FinancialPost, Google confirmed today it has acquired two-year-old self-serve package pickup startup, Buffer Box, for an undisclosed sum. The Waterloo, Ontario based startup was previously working out of the Communitech Hub startup incubator, located downstairs from Google’s Waterloo offices.

FinancialPost explained how the BufferBox service works:

BufferBox’s service provides users with temporary lockers in central locations which can accept packages sent by online retailers. Users sign up for a BufferBox address, which is provided to the online merchant. When a parcel arrives at one of BufferBox’s self-serve kiosks, the users receives an email and can pick up their package using a one-time-use code. The locker can then be used to store a package from another user.

As for what Google plans to do with the company, Google Waterloo engineering director Steve Woods told FinancialPost it would “keep doing BufferBox” while saying there “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.”

Back in October we heard Google was testing a same-delivery service in San Francisco and even had plans to use self-driving cars in the pilot program. BufferBox could possibly play a role in Google’s future delivery services.

The BufferBox team, including founders Mike McCauley, Aditya Bali and Jay Shah, had this to say on the company’s blog: Read more

Google’s Trusted Store program comes out of pilot, opens to all US merchants

Google opened its Trusted Store program today to all United States merchants who apply.

The news comes in lieu of Google’s KikScore acquisition from earlier this week. The buyout is rumored to bulk the Trusted Stores program that helps online shoppers find stores with a safe and superior online shopping experience.

KikScore is a similar service that also offers seals for non-online retailers and local businesses. It foremost guarantees online businesses, however, and aggregates information about management, website history, and details on customer service satisfaction. The financial aspects of the acquisition were not revealed.

Google’s Product Manager Tom Fallows took to the Official Google Blog this afternoon to explain how the once-beta Trusted Store Program generated feedback from 50 online merchants and more than 10 million orders since last fall to develop a premium—yet free—shopping service:

Over the last nine months of the pilot, our tests show that participating in this program can help merchants big and small. For example, Wayfair, the largest online-only retailer of home goods and one of the top 50 largest online retailers as ranked by Internet Retailer, increased sales* on its site by 2.3 percent with Google Trusted Stores. And Beau-coup, a specialty online favors and gifts retailer, saw an 8.6 percent increase*. Take a look at our merchant success stories to learn more about how Google Trusted Stores has had a positive impact on website conversion rates and average order sizes for online retailers.

Google explained that when shopping online, the Google Trusted Store badge might appear. Shoppers can view a report card with grades for that merchant when they hover over the badge. The badge is only given to online stores that “deliver a great overall experience.” This helps shoppers to identify trustworthy and reliable online retailers.

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Google announces Trusted Stores to give you a piece of mind when shopping online

Google announced today a new pilot program called Trusted Stores. Trusted Stores will give shoppers a piece of mind when shopping online, telling them which stores ship on time, have good customer support, etc. Once awarded the Trusted Badge, credited stores can display it on their website (seen after the break).

If a company would like to participate they need to provide Google with information regarding shipping, and Google will also collect information from the store’s customers. Here’s a part we really like: if a customer decides to select free protection from Google, they will receive help from Google if a problem ever arises. Google will also offer a $1,000 lifetime protection package. Expect this to start popping up around the web a lot more.

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