Google knows what you bought last summer

Google knows what you bought last summer
Google doesn't need to work out a deal with physic medium John Edward to find out from dead relatives where you've been spending your money. According to CNBC, the company can track many of the items that you buy, even the stuff you purchased from Amazon or the Apple Store. Where is Google getting this information from? Do they have one of those Google Street View cars with antennas all over the place following you from store to store? Or do they rely on crowdsourced information like they use on Waze sending back to Mountain View data about every purchase you make. In that case, you can't even trust the Sabrett hot dog guy in Times Square not to squeal about the $3.49 you spent for a dog with everything on it.

The truth is that everytime a digital receipt is sent to you via Gmail, Google has access to that information. Yes, Google knows if you ordered from the Duke Ellington Deli using the Seamless app. Heck, it even knows exactly what you had delivered for dinner. Check out the Purchases page ( and you'll be blown away after seeing all of this information. Google says that only the account owner will see this information, and while the data can be deleted, doing so will also remove the receipts from Gmail where some people like to store this information. Google says that the data can be seen and deleted from a page called "My Activity," but this apparently is not true. And while the company told CNBC that the tracking can be completely turned off, such an option could not be found. Google says that it is working on making it easier for users to manage the collection of their data in the future.

While we now know where Google is getting the data from, why is it gathering all of this information? After all, the company clearly states that it "does not sell your personal information, which includes your Gmail and Google Account information." In addition, Google says that it does not share your personal information with advertisers, unless you have given it permission to do so. And yet, there are your purchases right up there on the Purchases web page. And besides obtaining your purchasing data from receipts sent to Gmail, it also gathers data on "orders placed using Google services, like the Google Play Store, Google Express, or through the Google Assistant."

How to stop Google from using your private results

You can go through the Purchases page and delete each transaction one by one. To do so, click on a particular purchase to see more details about it. At the bottom of the screen you will see a link that says "Remove Purchase." Click on it. You will see another box that prompts you to view the email receipt. Click on that and you will be taken directly to the email receipt for the purchase found in your Gmail inbox. Delete that Gmail letter the usual way, and it is now gone from Gmail and the Purchases page.

You can also stop Google from using your shopping information, although it will prevent Google Assistant from knowing when your packages are due to arrive. From the desktop, go to and click on Settings > Search Settings. Scroll down to the Private Results heading and tap on the option that reads "Do not use private results." And while that won't delete your past purchases (we've already told you how to do that), or stop Google from tracking future purchases, it will prevent the company from using the data in your search results and other Google services.



1. lyndon420

Posts: 6836; Member since: Jul 11, 2012

Just use cash.

4. vincelongman

Posts: 5728; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Or a privacy focused cryptocurrency

3. vincelongman

Posts: 5728; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Lol is anyone surprised by this? Heaps of other companies know as well e.g. other email cilents (Microsoft, Apple, Spark, etc, ...), mobile payment (Apple, Samsung, Garmin, WeChat, Facebook, ...), your bank, Visa/Mastercard/AmEx, Paypal

6. nautiyalspandan

Posts: 20; Member since: Jan 22, 2015

Old news. Stopped using gmail long ago because of this and hundred of unwanted emails. Using outlook now.


Posts: 59; Member since: May 16, 2018

Google probably knows what I've brought my entire life.

13. slim3bdo

Posts: 186; Member since: Jun 05, 2017

Clearly a stupid article as most of phonearnea's articles I dont see anywhere google selling these information It gather all your purchase receipt and show them to you ( the user ) and only you , to know where your money is spent on ,you dont get add releated to purchases unless you accept to be served such adds , which you can turn off . Google services benifit the user in the 1st place , it doesnt cause any harm to the user in any way when the data being collected are not share with 3rd party against his well . Once you have an article exposing google sharing user data against his wish , then i would call that journalism , otherwise its just propaganda .

14. ZEUS.the.thunder.god

Posts: 1138; Member since: Oct 05, 2011

How the heck do you think A.I. and smart assistants work? They need your data to do a great job assisting you. It's called contextual awareness. I know Google uses my data to tell me how I can avoid peak traffic or if something I wanted to buy is on sale. Atleast with Google, you can see what information they have and how it's used unlike tons of government agencies. P.S. if it's online, it's not really private. You want real privacy? Don't do anything online/electronic.

15. Back_from_beyond

Posts: 1440; Member since: Sep 04, 2015

And if I click delete it's all gone.

16. KevinFanch

Posts: 9; Member since: Jan 11, 2019

Why share all your private information with Google. Just stop using it. I've stopped using stock Android and installed /e/ on my mobile, it's privacy oriented and doesn't share anything with Google. Check

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit for samples and additional information.