Google Tracks Your Online Purchases Through Gmail

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Google has been on a big ol’ privacy PR push lately, including a fancy New York Times op-ed from CEO Sundar Pichaiextolling the importance of protecting your data. Which is a great sentiment that doesn’t quite jibe with the revelation this week that Google also raids your Gmail account for signs of transactions, and collects them all on a separate webpage for your account. You can find yours here. It includes Amazon purchases, subscriptions, tickets, really anything for which you got an emailed receipt. Google says it doesn’t use the information to serve ads, and that the page exists “to help you easily view and keep track of your purchases, bookings and subscriptions in one place.” Honestly, it’s no surprise that Google’s machines can read your email. But it’s hard to understand on what planet the company thought maintaining a hidden away page that catalogs your retail activity there would read as anything but creepy and invasive. There’s no easy way to delete that history, other than deleting receipts from your email or ticking through them one at a time on your Purchase page. To get at least a little control back over how Google tracks you, head to this preferences page and click “Do not use private results.” Because naturally, Google chose to make the use of private results the default, instead of opt-in.

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