Last week, Google's CEO Sundar Pichai wrote a New York Times op-ed that stated, "privacy cannot be a luxury good." But behind this, Google has a secret page that records your every single purchase, even if you purchased it elsewhere, like in a store or from Flipkart.
A page named as "Purchase" has all the purchase history that you ever made. Digital receipts of every purchase, which is made at different platforms like Amazon, Flipkart, Paytm, Myntra etc. are received at Gmail and Google secretly scans Gmail and records every purchase data. It is a little freaky, and it's reasonable to be sceptical about why Google is keeping this information.
In an emailed statement, Google said to CNBC: "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. We're always working to help people understand and manage their data."
Is this data used for serving ads?
Facebook and Google know more about you and have an immense amount of information about you, like your personal habits, location history, and purchase history. Like a social network, both organisations dominate the online advertising industry. Google collects data using methods and tools its users may not be fully aware of, like purchase history. And these tools are increasingly coming under scrutiny because tools collect this data in such a way that it is observed by human employees during the artificial intelligence training process.
Collection of data in this way is bizarre and it shows Google's struggle to transparently communicate its privacy policies and ad-tracking methods. However, a Google spokesperson said, "The purchase history is removable and we don't use any information from your Gmail messages to serve you ads."
How to delete purchase history
Deleting purchase history is not easy as Google doesn't let you delete or clear this information, at least not directly. You will have to delete the information one by one, and that too by going back to the source email and deleting it. Hectic!
As of now, the main reason behind this purchase page is still ill-defined. Even if it's not being used for ads, it doesn't make any sense of tracking years of purchases and make it hard to delete that information.