What Is Behind Amazon’s Purchase of iRobot, the Roomba Company?

Amazon includes Roomba in its catalog, but many questions have arisen about it, which have to do with user privacy.

Roomba vacuum cleaner

Photo: iRobot

LatinAmerican Post| Julián Gómez

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Leer en español: ¿Qué hay detrás de la compra de Amazon a iRobot, la empresa de Roomba?

Jeff Bezos includes yet another company in his catalog. This week it became known that Amazon bought iRobot for 1.7 billion dollars, a company that manufactures Roomba, the famous vacuum cleaners that are intelligent robots specialized in cleaning the home.

"We know that saving time matters, and chores take up precious time that can be spent doing something customers love. I'm excited to work with the iRobot team to invent ways to make customers' lives easier and more enjoyable,” he said. Amazon Devices Senior Vice President Dave Limp.

The purchase of Amazon has generated many suspicions. The most important is that with iRobot in its catalog, Amazon has more scope for potential user data and can better segment them. If so, it could have serious implications for people's privacy.

How Would Amazon's Purchase of Roomba Violate Privacy?

If you take into account that each person who buys a Roomba vacuum cleaner delegates the cleaning task to a robot, this would not only fulfill its function, but would also collect information about the user. This means that with the software that Roomba has, it is very easy for the device to track or map the architecture of the home and establish how it is furnished or the consumption habits in the home, through the garbage.

Additionally, it could know what the user lacks or what is left over. With this data, Amazon could be nourished and cross-reference information to bombard the user with objects or implements that are missing in their home.

There may be exaggeration among those who put forward these kinds of theories about the new Amazon acquisition. However, it cannot be ignored that the company has been developing efforts to get closer to people's homes with the purchase of other companies that would also pose a threat to the privacy of those who use them.

Also read:Everything you Should Know About the Ban on Apple Products in Colombia

Amazon Companies for Home

In addition to iRobot with Roomba, Amazon knows its customers thanks to extensions such as Prime Video and concludes what its customers like to consume in audiovisual material. The same happens with Twitch, the most famous live platform. Its platform is ideal for segmenting the public. With this application -which it acquired from IGDB- Amazon has the most important video game database at its fingertips and from there the e-commerce giant's advertising can be much more segmented.

Another crucial Amazon company for the home is Ring. Amazon acquired it in 2018 for $1.1 billion. The company is notable for selling smart home doorbells and security cameras that connect to the Internet. In conclusion, Amazon also watches us.

If we take into account that -in case of monopolizing the majority of the market – Amazon knows what we see thanks to Prime Video; what video games we like thanks to Twitch and what our house is like thanks to Roomba, the possibilities of crossing information from the company are endless. Added to this is that through Eero, another Amazon company that manages Wi-Fi networks, they have access to the Internet browsing that we do with our devices.

For Roomba there is no better complement than Alexa, the virtual assistant that is aware of our searches by voice. This appliance, like the Roomba, was intended for use in the home. However, Alexa lacks the scrolling that Roomba can have, and Roomba lacks information about people's likes, questions, searches, or whims.

Without a doubt, Jeff Bezos is eager to get to know his clients better in order to offer a more appropriate advertising and bidding system. The great unknown is whether in each of the markets it has entered it will be able to monopolize the majority of the clientele and what responsibility there will be with the data supplied by the clients.

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