We’ve all bought things online before, but it seems that even if you did not buy it directly from Google or through Google, the company seems to be pretty aware of the things that you’re buying online. This is thanks to the use of digital receipts which are usually sent to your email address. If you’re using Gmail, this is how the company is tracking you.
This is actually not new and it was only brought to light when a report from CNBC revealed that there is a page in your Google account called “Purchases”. You can take a look at it here where depending on how old your Google account is, it can potentially track your purchases from the day you created your account. In the case of CNBC, they found purchases listed from back in 2013.
Google has since defended the page in a statement made to CNBC where a spokesperson said, “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.”
Unfortunately, as CNBC has discovered, trying to delete the purchase history also means deleting the email, which in some cases is not desirable as some users might want to keep a copy of the email/receipt for future reference. In a way, this is kind of ironic as just last week, Google’s CEO seemed to take a shot at Apple over how privacy cannot be sold as a luxury good.