Google is keeping tabs on all your online purchases by tracking receipts that are emailed to your Gmail account.
Google’s purchase history page was brought to public attention in a CNBC report, though it’s been there for at least year as part of a Google Assistant feature update.
Depending on when a user set up their Gmail account, the list of purchases, including those not from Google, can date back several years, covering subscriptions, movie and music purchases, and anything bought online where the receipt was sent to that Gmail account.
The Purchases information is part of a ‘Payments & subscriptions’ page within the Google Account. Google is also collecting data on reservations for flights, hotels, and restaurants from Google Assistant and Gmail.
The Purchases page says, “Only you can see your purchases”, which include “Your transactions, including deliveries and online orders, gathered from Google services like your Assistant and Gmail.”
Clicking on an item provides details about what the item was, the time of the purchase, the currency it was paid in and the cost.
There is an option to ‘Remove purchase’, but deleting the item requires deleting the original email it was sourced from.
This option might not be ideal for anyone who relies on Gmail to keep records of purchases, but doesn’t want purchases to be collated by Google, which notes on a support page that “Information about your orders may also be saved with your activity in other Google services.”
In a statement to CNET, Google said it doesn’t use the Gmail information to target ads. The company stopped scanning email content to tailor ads in 2017, but clearly it still collects data from Gmail for other purposes, such as creating reminders.
“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,” a Google spokesperson said.
Other sources that Google saves purchases from include Google Play Store, Google Express, and purchases made through the Google Assistant.
Google told CNBC it created the Purchases page “to help you easily view and keep track of your purchases, bookings and subscriptions in one place”.
Google last week announced a revamped version of Google Shopping, which lets consumers buy goods from a retailer’s website, a nearby store, or from Google. The move brings it closer to Amazon’s territory in online sales.
Google’s senior vice president of advertising and commerce, Prabhakar Raghavan, told CNET last week that Google should use “as little of that data as possible over time” for targeting ads, while still showing people relevant ads.
More on Google and Gmail
Key Criteria for Evaluating Unified Endpoint Management
Endpoint management is one of the most significant challenges in the enterprise today. An increasingly large percentage of our workforce is distributed and demands flexibility to work wherever they want, whenever they want. We must respond by giving them access to the services they require to do their jobs effectively. The alternative is that we, as a business, will suffer, lose good people, and become less competitive. However, we must achieve this essential access while maintaining security and control of our business’s data assets.
An appropriate endpoint management strategy is key to addressing these issues. Our approach should be holistic and unified, bringing together control of devices, management of applications, security of data, and access controls.
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This GigaOM Key Criteria Report describes UEM solutions and identifies key criteria and evaluation metrics for selecting such a solution. The corresponding GigaOm Radar Report identifies vendors and products that excel in this sector. Together, these reports give decision-makers an overview of the market to help them evaluate existing platforms and decide where to invest.
How to Read this Report
This GigaOm report is one of a series of documents that helps IT organizations assess competing solutions in the context of well-defined features and criteria. For a fuller understanding consider reviewing the following reports:
Key Criteria report: A detailed market sector analysis that assesses the impact that key product features and criteria have on top-line solution characteristics—such as scalability, performance, and TCO—that drive purchase decisions.
GigaOm Radar report: A forward-looking analysis that plots the relative value and progression of vendor solutions along multiple axes based on strategy and execution. The Radar report includes a breakdown of each vendor’s offering in the sector.
Solution Profile: An in-depth vendor analysis that builds on the framework developed in the Key Criteria and Radar reports to assess a company’s engagement within a technology sector. This analysis includes forward-looking guidance around both strategy and product.
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Data Storage for Ever Changing Business Needs
Join GigaOm analyst Enrico Signoretti and CTERA CTO Aron Brand in this one-hour live webinar as they explore file storage trends and dynamics through the lens of IT infrastructure modernization projects.
The file and cloud experts will discuss the limitations of traditional NAS architectures in today’s corporate environments and how organizations are implementing distributed cloud file storage to solve remote collaboration, ransomware protection, and unstructured data growth challenges.
Signoretti and Brand will also examine the recently published GigaOm Radar for Distributed Cloud File Storage, in which CTERA was named the leader. They will review the report’s key criteria and evaluation metrics for choosing a distributed cloud file storage platform, helping IT leaders to understand which vendors are most aligned to their needs today as well as 12-18 months down the road.
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High Performance Application Security Testing – Cloud WAF Security Platforms
This free 1-hour webinar from GigaOm Research features analyst Jake Dolezal and will focus on comparing Web Application Firewall (WAF) security platforms in an enterprise with high performance needs.
This webinar will discuss web application security mechanisms deployed in the cloud. The cloud enables enterprises to differentiate and innovate with microservices at a rapid pace. However, the cloud is just as vulnerable, if not more so, to attacks and breaches as on-premises APIs and apps are. Our focus is specifically on approaches to securing apps, APIs, and microservices that are tuned for high performance and availability. We define “high performance” as companies that experience workloads of more than 1,000 transactions per second (tps) and require a maximum latency below 30 milliseconds across the landscape.
In this webinar, we will reveal the performance tests of security mechanisms on NGINX, AWS, and Azure, specifically: ModSecurity, NGINX App Protect WAF, AWS Web Application Firewall (WAF), and Azure WAF.
Register now to join GigaOm and NGINX for this free expert webinar.
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