Amazon Mapping Your Life

iRobot, the company that makes Roomba robotic vacuum cleaners, has agreed to be acquired by Amazon for $1.7 billion, according to a joint statement. If the deal closes, Amazon will have access to the maps a Roomba makes of each room it cleans.

What could possibly go wrong?

Nothing, actually. In a vacuum (no pun intended), the data is useful only to the Roomba. The robot uses the map to understand where it has cleaned and where it still needs to clean. Here’s iRobot’s info page explaining how and why the robots map your home, as well as how you can use the data. It’s not too sinister when you read it.

But… iRobot isn’t Amazon. As I have said before, Amazon is a corporate version of Alien (the lifeform from the eponymous movie). Metaphorically speaking, it lives in any environment, has acid for blood, and has its way with all other lifeforms.

This is a data play, pure and simple. There is no other reason for Amazon to even think about iRobot and Roomba. What will Amazon do with the data? The least sinister (or most sinister, depending upon who you are and how you think) thing you can think of: use it to sell you more stuff. Remember, data is more powerful in the presence of other data. The more Amazon can enrich your profile, the better its recommendations can be and the more likely you will be to click.

Author’s note: This is not a sponsored post. I am the author of this article and it expresses my own opinions. I am not, nor is my company, receiving compensation for it.

About Shelly Palmer

Shelly Palmer is the Professor of Advanced Media in Residence at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and CEO of The Palmer Group, a consulting practice that helps Fortune 500 companies with technology, media and marketing. Named LinkedIn’s “Top Voice in Technology,” he covers tech and business for Good Day New York, is a regular commentator on CNN and writes a popular daily business blog. He's a bestselling author, and the creator of the popular, free online course, Generative AI for Execs. Follow @shellypalmer or visit



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