Roomba Maker May Sell Your Home Map Data To Apple, Google

Roomba Maker May Sell Your Home Map Data To Apple, Google

A new report from Reuters outlines the push from Roombo vacuum maker iRobot to expand further into smart home territory.

Roomba autonomous robotic vacuum cleaners have been on the market since 2002, and are an undeniable and overwhelming success.

The automatic vacuums began mapping homes two years ago in order to clean them better, but now iRobot CEO Colin Angle wants to use that data, possibly to inform speaker-type assistants like Amazon's Alexa about how to best go about automating other home appliances or to generate ads, USA Today reported. But the company's terms and conditions reportedly have a clause saying that they have the right to share customers' personal information, according to Gizmodo.

It sounds like it could be a privacy nightmare for Roomba owners, but the thing is a floorplan of your home doesn't really tell anyone who stays in there, what you do, what your passwords are, and what kind of conversations you are having. And while Angle said that no specific plan exists for iRobot to sell its mapping data to these companies, he told Reuters on Monday that iRobot "could reach a deal to sell its maps to one or more of the Big Three in the next couple of years".




The executive is now exploring deals to share data with tech giants like Apple, Google, and Amazon, according to Reuters. iRobot is already compatible with Amazon's Alexa and Google's Google Home, so there's already some sharing of information in place.

Apple, Google and Amazon have already heavily invested in iRobot. But that could simply mean the hardware won't work if you don't give it permission to sell your data. Angel said users would need to opt-in to share home mapping data, but didn't detail how that opt-in would take place. No data will be shared with third-parties without the informed consent of our customers.

What do you think of iRobot's plans?

iRobot customer service isn't all on the same page about this news. Amazon declined to comment. Some homeowners may be uncomfortable with the idea of virtual blueprints of their home stored in a cloud accessible by tech companies that could already have significant information about them. And that gives iRobot permission to give-or sell-your map.

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