After news broke out about Amazon storing your data, it is now the turn for Google to come under the scanner. As per a report by USA Today, Google and other tech giants are bearing the wrath of people the world over for a variety of reasons that are not limited to but include failing to protect its customer's data, not disclosing how data is collected and not doing enough to police the data posted using their services.
Google has seeded themselves into our lives with excellent services such as Gmail, Google Maps, and Google Search. With these features, it has made our lives a lot more comfortable and there is no doubt regarding it. Even Google Assistant, the brand’s voice AI service has grown by leaps and bounds so much so that we use them for every single thing in our lives. However, while we do enjoy these benefits, they undoubtedly come at a price — our privacy. While Google says that privacy should not be a luxury good, it is still doing all it can to store as much data about its users and making it increasingly difficult than needed for us to track what’s stored and to delete it.
Google reportedly uses Gmail to collect a list of everything that you have purchased if you happen to use Gmail in any part of the transaction.
The report states, “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.”
If you had any doubts regarding this, you can view your Purchase history by heading on over to Google’s Purchases page.
Google claims that it does this in order to allow its Google Assistant to reorder or track packages. They do this even if that’s not an option and some of your purchases that can’t be mailed or reordered like something you bought from a store.
The report adds, “Google said users can delete everything by tapping into a purchase and removing the Gmail. It seemed to work if you did this for each purchase, one by one. This isn’t easy — for years worth of purchases, this would take hours or even days of time.”
So what’s left for you to do so that Gmail doesn’t store your purchase history is to delete everything from your Gmail account. However, even after this, the Purchase history still shows items you every item you have bought.
The report states, “three weeks after I deleted every Gmail, I checked my purchases list.
I 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. So Google is caching or saving this private information somewhere else that isn’t just tied to my Gmail account.”
A Google spokesperson initially stated that this stored list was only for the particular user’s need and they view it as a convenience. After which Google went on to state that the data is used to “help you get things done, like track a package or reorder food.”
However, this is a convenience no one really asked for and the fact Google stores and compiles this data is a bit creepy.
This goes to show how tech companies often treat your privacy as a zero to a low-priority afterthought and will make a change only if their hand is forced.