The company behind the Roomba robot vacuum, iRobot, has announced a partnership with Google that will allow the tech giant to utilize the autonomous vacuum’s ability to digitally map its user’s home.
Using a combination of photos and spatial data, the iRobot Roomba i7+ is able to create a detailed floorplan of a home, allowing its users to create cleaning schedules or issue specific room-based commands via the integrated Google Assistant functionality.
Google hopes to leverage this map data in order to make the user’s smart home more “thoughtful”. While specific functionality hasn’t been detailed, some potential use cases given include a much easier setup process and more intelligent automation.
For instance, once your connected products have access to your home’s floorplan, they’ll be able to ‘figure out’ if they are in the kitchen, the living room and so on. This could make it quicker to set up a connected light globe, door lock and more on a companion app.
Naturally, there are some concerns to be had over one of the world’s biggest data-mongers also gaining access to a detailed map of your home, but Google promises this isn’t as sinister as it sounds.
Google’s director of smart home technology, Michelle Turner, told The Verge that the data “doesn’t help current Google products” and “isn’t getting fed into some larger morass of Google information”, which implies that it won’t be used for the company’s ad-targeting network.
While the map created by your Roomba gets saved to iRobot’s servers, the low-res photos the droid takes never leave the device itself. Regardless, you won’t be forced to share your floorplan with Google as the option is completely voluntary.
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