One of the lessons of life that we have had to learn as consumers / netizens in recent years is that the big ones in the network know many things about us and that, besides, escaping from them and their services is very complicated, if not impossible. The giants of the network are everywhere, are responsible for many services and have control of many things and many elements that are key to our day to day. From time to time, some journalist makes a flashy and viral article about the day he decided to leave Google or Facebook and all associated services, which usually concludes with a message about how difficult it is to survive in that environment.
But it is also no longer just that the services of the giants of the network are very present in our day to day and that their presence is recurrent in what consumers do, but also, even when it is done actively , leaving them and preventing them from accessing our information seems almost impossible. It is as if these services become a kind of perpetual element to which it seems impossible to skimp data and information.
And the last service that has revealed a situation of these is Gmail, the email service of Google. The consumer may delete emails and may want to make the service stop knowing what to buy, but once Gmail has that data it is impossible to make them ‘release’.
What exactly has the American press just demonstrated? As a CNBC investigation has just shown, Google still keeps a list of what you’ve bought – as long as those purchase confirmations reach Gmail, of course – even if the consumer erases mails linked to the purchase. In fact, anyone can see everything they’ve bought and everything Google knows they’ve acquired. The information is in a specific section of purchases within the Google account, in which the orders are located by month of purchase and include information on the status of the purchase.
What Google Purchases knows
In theory, this list shows all the purchases that have been made linked to Gmail, although – looking at the personal history of purchases – it is striking that many purchases are left out (such as hotel or ticket reservations) of airplane, the purchase of the supermarket online or the purchases to services like Just Eat). My personal listing, basically, consists of the purchases I made at Amazon and at Iberlibro. This is not what happens, however, to the CNBC journalist who has followed up on this issue, which also includes food orders or recharges from the Starbucks purchase card.
All this information helps to create a clear profile of what interests and what does not the consumer (especially if you consider that it is information of many ecommerce services and not only of a specific one), although when the CNBC journalist detected its existence Google already made it clear that they did not use the information they accumulated in those lists to serve advertising. Simply, it served to be clear all purchases made (and worked as a basis to use in Google Assistant). Then, from Google they also pointed out that this information could be erased by the consumer.
But can that information be erased? According to the latest installment of the CNBC investigation, no.
You can erase everything, which Google keeps knowing.
The journalist decided to delete all the emails he had received in his Gmail profile. That is, it completely emptied your account after a decade of use. With this I wanted to check if Google stopped having proof of what it had bought and what it did not and if those data were erased as Google promised. After the deletion, he let three weeks pass before going to check the tab linked to purchases from his personal Google account.
In spite of everything, there followed the data of all the purchases that had made throughout all these years and of those that Google knew thanks to the data of confirmation that arrived at Gmail. In the list were from the most recent purchases made to those that the journalist had already forgotten to have done long ago.
After contacting Google again, a spokesperson received the information and insisted that they did not use it to segment advertising. “We appreciate the notice about how Google Purschases works and we are investigating it,” they said. “As a reminder, the shopping page is a way to see your purchases: we do not use any of your Gmail messages to serve ads and that includes the email receipts and confirmations shown on the Purchases page,” he said. .