Google is keeping a secret log of all your online shopping purchases.
The log is compiled from receipts sent to your Gmail account. If you’ve had your email account for a long time then the list could stretch back years.
Anyone who has done any online shopping and elected to receive an email receipt to your Gmail address, will be affected and the tech giant is noting it down in a secret list.
Google, like Facebook, knows an immense amount of information about you, your personal habits and what you buy on the internet.
The Silicon Valley company has previously promised to honour privacy but on the other hand has been saving the shopping history of its customers.
It also includes songs bought on linked music accounts, eBay and Amazon purchases, monthly subscriptions and even delivery notes, along with estimated dates that the orders were fulfilled.
Each individual email containing a receipt must be removed from the inbox for it to be taken off the list.
Access your own personal list
If you don’t want Google to store these records, then there is a way for you to delete them manually off the secret list.
Even though we’ve heard a lot lately about Google’s new attitude towards privacy and transparency, most people didn’t even know this page even existed!
The way to access your own personal list is via a private web tool. If you go to the ‘Payments & Subscriptions’ tab in your Google Account menu and once there, click on the ‘Purchases’ list to see all the transaction information that Google has logged from Gmail and the Google Assistant.
Frustratingly, you can’t mass-delete entries from this list if you want to clean it up. You will have to select each item individually and delete it.
Google said it stopped using information from personal Gmail accounts to create personalised adverts in 2017 and the tech giant says it doesn’t use any purchase information to influence what adverts are seen.
Google told CNBC that the Purchases page is a ‘private destination’ that can ‘only be seen by you’.
A spokesperson said: ‘You can delete this information at any time. We don’t use any information from your Gmail messages to serve you ads, and that includes the email receipts and confirmations shown on the Purchase page.’
Interestingly, Google CEO Sundar Pichai recently wrote in the New York Times: ‘Privacy is personal, which makes it even more vital for companies to give people clear, individual choices around how their data is used.’