Google is scanning your Gmail inbox to keep a detailed list of your purchases, and there's no easy way to erase it (GOOGL, GOOG)

Sundar Pichai

  • Google keeps track of many purchases you make that send digital receipts to your Gmail inbox.
  • Your buying history is kept on a page called “Purchases,” CNBC reported.
  • There’s no simple way to delete this history — instead, you have to delete each individual emailed receipt.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Google and other companies store massive amounts of your personal data, some that you may not even be aware of.

In fact, Google tracks what you buy and keeps the extensive history compiled on your account. CNBC recently reported that a page called “Purchases” shows Google users a list of purchases they’ve made.

The list doesn’t include a complete history of what you’ve bought, though, and includes only purchases that come with a digital receipt sent to your Gmail account. Essentially, Google is mining your inbox to compile this list in one place.

For me, my “Purchases” page includes coffees bought at shops that use Square, food deliveries through Grubhub and Seamless, and orders made on Amazon. Google traces my purchasing history back to 2013, when I was still buying singles off of iTunes.

google gmail purchases

Google did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment. However, in a statement to CNBC, a Google spokesperson said the “Purchases” page is private and isn’t used by Google for purposes like ad targeting.

“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,” the Google spokesperson told CNBC. “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.”

Google also told CNBC that “you can delete this information at any time.” While that may be true, Google has made it incredibly difficult to erase your purchasing history. There’s no option on the “Purchases” page to delete your complete history at once. Instead, Google said that you have to manually go into each purchase entry, view the emailed receipt in your inbox, and, depending on where you made the purchase, either delete the entry or delete each email.

Additionally, there’s no clear way to stop Google from maintaining this “Purchases” page and tracking purchases in the future.

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