Google Is Tracking Users’ Purchases Through Their Gmail Accounts
Photo Credit: Sundar Pichai, chief executive officer of Google LLC, smiles during the Google I/O Developers Conference in Mountain View, California, U.S., on Tuesday, May 7, 2019. Each year, Google pitches new ways its trove of user data can improve apps, websites and other services on smartphones. This year, the internet giant will try to convince the world it’s a responsible steward of all that information. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai once told Congress that protecting users privacy is part of the company’s mission. Earlier this month, Pichai even wrote an op-ed for the New York Times stating “privacy should not be a luxury good.”
Despite all that talk about privacy, it seems Google is still taking more data from users than they’d expect. According to a CNBC report, Google tracks your shopping habits through a page called “Purchases.”
A company spokesperson told CNBC that the Purchases page is private and not used for advertisements.
“To help you easily view and keep track of your purchases, bookings and subscriptions in one place, we’ve created a private destination that can only be seen by you,” the spokesperson told CNBC. “We don’t use any information from your Gmail messages to serve you ads, and that includes the email receipts and confirmations shown on the Purchase page.”
Google only records the purchases you’ve made that come with a digital receipt, so it’s clear that the company relies on your Gmail account to make this work.
To delete the purchase itself, you have to delete the email containing the receipt. That’s not a big deal for some people, but others prefer to keep track of their receipts just in case.
In addition, Google hasn’t made an option to mass delete the entire Purchases history. Instead, you have to go through and click each item one by one.
Even if you do delete everything, there’s no way to stop Google from recording your purchases in the future.
We’re not sure how to feel about this feature, but we do hope that the company had nothing but good intentions when creating it.