In news that will come as no surprise to anyone who’s been paying attention, CNBC reports on a list of your purchases managed by Google, pulled from email receipt data in your Gmail account.
This has long been a feature of Gmail – it’s how Google Assistant can alert you to package deliveries, for example – and you can see the list here or by typing “my purchases” into Google search (if you’re signed in).
Google mines plenty of other information about you through your Gmail account: try typing “my flights” or “my trips” into Google search (while signed in) to see some of it.
The aim is to give you pertinent information (like flight delay alerts) when you need it – Google says only you can view this data and that it isn’t sold on to third parties or used to serve up advertising.
As CNBC notes, the purchases list includes everything you’ve bought that there’s a receipt for in Gmail, whether you got it from Google or not. It’s also difficult to scrub this list without deleting the receipt.
“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,” Google told CNBC in a statement.
While Google has been collecting data from your Gmail account for some time, the new report is a reminder that using Google’s apps and services comes with a trade-off in terms of privacy and data collection.
At the recent Google IO 2019 developer conference, Google reiterated its commitment to keeping user data protected and safe – the company promises it can be trusted with info like your history of purchases, but it’s always worth remembering just how much Google knows about you.