Technology

Google keeps a running list of the things you buy. You can't turn it off, but here's how to stop Google from using your shopping history. (GOOG, GOOGL)

man shopping texting grocery store

  • Google keeps a list of your purchases based on receipts emailed to your Gmail account.
  • Google says the information is used to provide personalized services, and is not used to serve ads.
  • There’s no way to turn off the purchase tracking in Google. But you can change your settings to that Google doesn’t use the information about your purchases in the services it provides you.
  • Here’s how to do it.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The fact that Google keeps track of information such as search and location history is fairly well-known, considering the widespread popularity of its search engine and navigation app.

But what may be less obvious is the running list that Google keeps of your purchases. The company logs purchases based on receipts delivered to your Gmail inbox as well as items or services you’ve purchased through Google’s services. It’s unclear exactly how long the company has been logging this information, but the page was noted in a Reddit thread from nine months ago and surfaced again on Friday thanks to a report from CNBC.

“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,” Google said in a statement to Business Insider. “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 Purchases page.”

There doesn’t appear to be an easy way to delete these purchases from your Gmail inbox or the Purchases page other than removing each entry individually. And you can’t actually stop Google from tracking and cataloging your purchases.

But you can prevent Google from accessing and using this information in the products and services it provides you. If you do decide to remove this functionality, for example, you won’t be able to ask the Google Assistant questions about when your packages will be delivered.

To stop Google from using your shopping history, follow the steps below:

SEE ALSO: Google’s CEO took a subtle swing at Apple in a new op-ed: ‘Privacy cannot be a luxury good’

From Google.com, click on the “Settings” button in the lower right corner.

Then choose “Search Settings.”

Under “Private results,” check the “Do not use private results” option.

This won’t delete the information Google has already stored, or even stop Google from tracking your future purchases. But it will prevent the company from using private information like purchase history in search results and other services moving forward. 

The company also says its looking into ways to further simplify its settings page. 



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