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Google Assistant’s new Roomba trick could allow Google to map your home

When it comes to mapping, there are few better than Google. However, when it comes to the home environments GPS satellites and its Street View cameras can’t penetrate, the company is found wanting. 

That could explain part of the reason for the web giant’s new partnership with iRobot, the maker of the Roomba vacuums, which maps out an owner’s home to ensure a more effective clean.

Roomba cleaners are now integrated with the Google Assistant, enabling Google Home owners to say “Hey Google, clean the kitchen.” In a press release, iRobot says devices like the Roomba i7+ are “ideally suited to enable intuitive and personalised smart home experiences.”

Beyond summoning the Roomba to a particular room following a spill, iRobot says the partnership could simplify smart home setup “based on an ability to learn a home’s floor plan.”

Related: Best vacuum cleaner 2018

This would, for example, enable Google to more clearly identify which smart home gadgets are in which room, beyond the manual input from users. It could assist users in positioning devices like the Home speakers or the mesh Google Wi-Fi routers for maximum effectiveness.

The pair plan to “seek additional ways to integrate their platforms, providing customers with the choice to opt in to new innovative smart home experiences that leverage a broader understanding of the home’s space. For example, the spatial awareness of the home that Roomba maintains may help to simplify smart home setup and enable powerful new automations.”

It will also give Google more precise in-home data than it could ever hope for. The company does offer indoor maps of places like airports and shopping malls, but this requires some extremely labour intensive data gathering techniques similar to what it uses for Street View.

Naturally, no-one is letting Google into their homes to carry out that kind of work, despite the fact the company probably would if it could.

While the integration could make life easier for consumers, this is certainly something to keep an eye on. Roomba owners should look for updates to iRobot’s privacy policy to reflect potential amendments acknowledging data sharing with Google.

Are you a Roomba owner who’d be willing to improve your smart home set-up by sharing data with Google? Drop us a line @TrustedReviews on Twitter.

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