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Gmail's log of all of your purchases pops up in the privacy debate

It could probably use a redesign.
Richard Lawler, @Rjcc
May 17, 2019
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As we become ever more aware about the data companies are tracking about us, we're even more concerned about how they're using it. During I/O 2019, Google highlighted efforts to streamline the way people can view and manage the data it stores about their activities, but a CNBC report points out one oddly-designed page that isn't as easy to access or use.

Purchases

The Purchases page (seen on mobile) has more details than you might remember.

Labeled "Purchases" and available at https://myaccount.google.com/purchases, it's a sorted log of digital and physical things you've bought that Google's automated scans picked up from receipts sent to your Gmail inbox. In a statement to CNBC Google confirmed that the page is only visible to the user, and "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."

Still, it's a lot of information that dates back years and highlights exactly how much Google can access, even when it's being used for you, automatically highlighting cards for Assistant, personal info in Search or directions for Google Maps. Also, while you can delete the entries, it lacks the abilities recently announced for Location History to eliminate info beyond a certain time period, or any kind of bulk delete button at all. You can turn off this type of tracking, according to Google, but there's no link to the controls from this page -- the company told CNBC it's looking into simplifying the settings and that seems like the right move.

In this article: gear, google, internet, security, services
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