CNBC has shared a new report in which it points out that Google tracks purchases via its Gmail service. Any email invoices or receipts that arrive in Gmail accounts are picked up by Google, giving it an overall impression of the things you’re buying, and when.
Ultimately, none of this is particularly new. Google has been able to keep tabs on the things you buy for a long time now, and Google Assistant has been able to offer shipping notifications based on that information as well. What appears to have changed relatively recently is the appearance of a new dashboard page that shows all of this information.
If you visit the new Google Account page, you can see the purchases Gmail has spotted as well as the date and retailer. The listing even shows the delivery address for the items in question.
A page called “Purchases ” shows an accurate list of many — though not all — of the things I’ve bought dating back to at least 2012. I made these purchases using online services or apps such as Amazon, DoorDash or Seamless, or in stores such as Macy’s, but never directly through Google.
Google does, of course, allow you to remove this data if you want, although it appears to be something that needs to be done on a line-by-line basis, which is less than ideal.
While none of this is really new – at least, the collection of the data isn’t – it’s understandably freaking people out. At this point, nobody should be surprised at the amount of data Google is collecting, though. While all of the attention is on Facebook and its practices with harvesting data, Google is absolutely no different. The question here is simple; are the services and features Google offers worth the invasion of privacy?
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