An anonymous reader quotes the Bloomberg post: Amazon.com bought more than just a manufacturer of robot vacuum cleaners. He purchased a mapping company. Or rather: a company that can map your house. On Friday, the company announced a $1.7 billion deal for iRobot, maker of the Roomba vacuum cleaner. And yes, Amazon will make money selling these gadgets. But the real value lies in the ability of these robots to map your home. As always with Amazon, it’s all about the data. A smart home, you see, isn’t really too smart. It only knows that your Philips Hue bulbs and connected TV are in your living room because you told them so. He certainly doesn’t know exactly where the tools are in this room. The more it knows about a certain space, the more precisely it can customize how they interact with you.
The smart home is clearly a priority for Amazon. Its Echo smart speakers are still outselling rivals Apple and Google in the three months to March, according to analytics firm Strategy Analytics. That’s on top of a $1 billion deal for video call maker Ring in 2018 and Wi-Fi company Eero a year later. But you still can’t easily get your hands on Astro, Amazon’s home robot that was unveiled with much fanfare last year and is still only available in limited quantities. It also seemed to be at least partially an effort to map the inside of your property, a task that now falls to iRobot. The Bedford, Mass.-based company’s latest products include technology it calls Smart Maps, though customers can opt out of data sharing. Amazon said in a statement that protecting customer data is “incredibly important.” What’s a little more terrifying is that maps also represent a wealth of data for marketers. The size of your home is a pretty good indicator of your wealth. A floor covered with toys means you have children. A household without a lot of furniture is a household you can try to sell more furniture to. All of this is useful information for a company like Amazon, which, as you may have noticed, is in the business of selling products.