Google uses Gmail to track your online purchases
Google saves years of information on purchases you’ve made, even outside Google, and pulls this information from Gmail. Moreover, it’s complicated to delete this private information, and options to turn it off are hidden in privacy settings. Google says it doesn’t use this information to sell you ads.
Google tracks a lot of what you buy, even if you purchased it elsewhere, like in a store or from Amazon.
Last week, CEO Sundar Pichai wrote a New York Times op-ed that said: “privacy cannot be a luxury good.” But behind the scenes, Google is still collecting a lot of personal information from the services you use, such as Gmail, and some of it can’t be easily deleted.
A page called “Purchases ” shows an accurate list of many — though not all — of the things I’ve bought dating back to at least 2012. I made these purchases using online services or apps such as Amazon, DoorDash or Seamless, or in stores such as Macy’s, but never directly through Google.