Google

Google Keeps Gmail Purchase History

Google

A new report has found that Google is still keeping a record of a user’s purchase history indefinitely.

Back in May, CNBC writer Todd Haselton revealed that he noticed the tech giant was using Gmail to store a list of everything a user has purchased, if Gmail or a Gmail address was included in any part of the transaction.

“If you have a confirmation for a prescription you picked up at a pharmacy that went into your Gmail account, Google logs it. If you have a receipt from Macy’s, Google keeps it. If you bought food for delivery and the receipt went to your Gmail, Google stores that, too,” Haselton wrote.

At the time, Google claimed it tracks the info so that Google Assistant can track packages or reorder items, adding that users could simply delete everything by tapping into a purchase and removing the Gmail. However, it only worked if each purchase was deleted individually, which could take hours or even days depending on a person’s purchase history.

Still, Haselton decided to delete everything in his Gmail inbox — more than a decade of information. And it didn’t work.

“Like a horror movie villain that just won’t die,” he wrote, adding that he can “still see receipts for things I bought years ago. Prescriptions, food deliveries, books I bought on Amazon, music I purchased from iTunes, a subscription to Xbox Live I bought from Microsoft — it’s all there. Google continues to show me purchases I’ve made recently, too. I can’t delete anything and I can’t turn it off.”

“When I click on an individual purchase and try to remove it — it says I can do this by deleting the email, after all — it just redirects to my inbox and not to the original email message for me to delete, since that email no longer exists,” he continued. “So Google is caching or saving this private information somewhere else that isn’t just tied to my Gmail account.”

A  Google spokesperson was not immediately available to comment on this latest story.

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NEW PYMNTS DATA: HOW WE SHOP – SEPTEMBER 2020 

The How We Shop Report, a PYMNTS collaboration with PayPal, aims to understand how consumers of all ages and incomes are shifting to shopping and paying online in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our research builds on a series of studies conducted since March, surveying more than 16,000 consumers on how their shopping habits and payments preferences are changing as the crisis continues. This report focuses on our latest survey of 2,163 respondents and examines how their increased appetite for online commerce and digital touchless methods, such as QR codes, contactless cards and digital wallets, is poised to shape the post-pandemic economy.

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