Google and other tech companies have been under fire recently for a variety of issues, including failing to protect user data, failing to disclose how data is collected and used and failing to police the content posted to their services.
Companies such as Google have embedded themselves in our lives with useful services including Gmail, Google Maps and Google Search, as well as smart products such as the Google Assistant which can answer our questions on a whim.
The benefits of these tools come at the cost of our privacy, however, because while Google says that privacy should not be a “luxury good, ” it’s still going to great lengths to collect as much detail as possible about its users and making it more difficult than necessary for users to track what’s collected about them and delete it.
If you have a confirmation for a prescription you picked up at a pharmacy that went into your Gmail account, Google logs it. If you have a receipt from Macy’s, Google keeps it. If you bought food for delivery and the receipt went to your Gmail, Google stores that, too.
You get the idea, and you can see your own purchase history by going to Google’s Purchases page.
Google says it does this so you can use Google Assistant to track packages or reorder things, even if that’s not an option for some purchases that aren’t mailed or wouldn’t be reordered, like something you bought a store.
It shows once again how tech companies often treat user privacy as a low-priority afterthought and will only make changes if user outrage forces their hand.