What if we told you that Google has been keeping an eye on almost everything you’ve bought online? Using the purchase receipts you receive on your Gmail, Google is easily able to keep tabs on your online transactions.
Last week, CEO Sundar Pichai wrote to New York times saying “privacy cannot be a luxury good”, but it appears that behind the scenes, Google has been collecting a lot of our personal data.
“Purchases” Web Tool
A private web tool called “Purchases” shows a list of many accurate purchases you’ve made and has been active for an indeterminate amount of time without our knowledge. You can view your own over here.
According to Google,
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. You can delete this information at any time. 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.
The search engine giant claims that only the user is able to see this information and Google does not use it for personalized ad tracking. You can also delete your receipts from Purchases, but it doesn’t seem to work.
When you click delete, you’re simply just taken to the Gmail entry. So as a result, there’s no way you can keep track of your own purchases without Google keeping tabs on it.
Can’t Turn it Off
Google says that you can turn it off, but there isn’t really an option to fully turn the tracking off. Weird how there’s no mention of this on Google’s front and center privacy page or even in Google’s privacy checkup feature.
According to Google, they’re just looking into simplifying things and making it easier to control. But it’s a little strange how a lot of people don’t even know this exists and there’s not even a clear way to get to this “feature”.