Big tech darling iRobot (maker of Roomba) is now working with Google to make smart homes smarter using iRobot’s floor-mapping data.
The goal: Have smart assistants differentiate between devices in different parts of the house, so you can tell Google devices of the future to turn on the kitchen lights or flip your laundry.
iRobot’s been in the tech game since before (some of) you were born
Founded in 1990 by MIT robotics engineers, iRobot actually started by building bomb disposal robots for the US Army.
But, since launching their first Roomba in 2002, they’ve grown to acquire 88% of the “robovac” market and dropped their bomb division as consumer applications accounted for 99% of their $660m revenue.
Now, their biggest advantage over smart vacuum competitors is its mapping tech — and companies like SoftBank, Amazon, and Google are interested.
iRobot holds the map to corporate hearts aplenty
Last year, SoftBank acquired a small stake in the company, and iRobot has reportedly considered selling its mapping data to Apple, Amazon, and Google (it’s not clear whether Google’s partnership is exclusive, or if we can expect contracts from other big players to follow).
iRobot’s CEO stresses that the company’s mapping data won’t be used in other Google services like their ad-target business, but consumers are still wary of getting profiled by the layout of their houses, or worse… what they keep under their beds.