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The Google Assistant Can Tell Your Roomba Where to Clean

Google is teaming up with Roomba maker iRobot to create new smart home features based on indoor maps of users’ homes.

The high-end Roomba i7+ robot vacuum can map your home’s floor plan as it sweeps up. So with Google Assistant, you can command the robot to clean up a specific room with just your voice by saying “Hey Google, clean the kitchen” or “Hey Google, clean the living room.”

Going forward, the companies plan to further integrate their platforms, giving customers “the choice to opt in to new innovative smart home experiences that leverage a broader understanding of the home’s space,” iRobot announced Wednesday. The announcement is light on details, but iRobot says its indoor mapping data “may help to simplify smart home setup and enable powerful new automations.”

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Last year, iRobot co-founder and CEO Colin Angle announced his intention to share maps of users’ homes with third-party companies working on smart home devices. At the time, he said iRobot’s mapping data can help smart home devices like lights, thermostats, and security cameras better understand their physical environment.

“Robots with mapping and spatial awareness capabilities will play an important role in allowing other smart devices in the home to more seamlessly work together,” Angle said in a statement this week. “We’re looking forward to working with Google to explore new ways to enable a more thoughtful home.”

Google, meanwhile, said it does not collect any spatial awareness data from iRobot.

“Much like assigning smart lights or other smart devices to rooms in the home, the Assistant only learns what names people have given to areas of their homes, so that it can then deploy the iRobot i7+ to that area,” a Google spokesperson told PCMag today. “We do not receive any information on the layout of the home or where the areas are, respectively.”

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