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Google Tracks Purchases For Paying G Suite Users, Doesn’t Show It

Google Tracks Purchases For Paying G Suite Users, Doesn’t Show It

Google is also tracking all purchases made by G Suite users just as is it does for users of the free Gmail email service, although the Google Account’s Purchases page will not list them for review for the paid accounts.

As BleepingComputer reported during the weekend, Gmail users can see all their email receipts and confirmations from orders placed “using Google services, like Google Play Store, Google Express, or through the Google Assistant” or received from brick-and-mortar stores on the Google Account Purchases page, located at https://myaccount.google.com/purchases.

At the time the previous report was published, BleepingComputer thought that the purchase extraction process was not enabled for users of paid G Suite accounts after seeing that the Google Account Purchases page was empty for two G Suite accounts frequently used to make online purchases.

List of collected G Suite purchases in JSON format
Exported purchase from a G Suite Account

However, a hawk-eyed Reddit user discovered that when one uses the Google Takeout service and exports the “Purchases & Reservations”, all purchases that were sent to the G Suite inbox as receipts and confirmations in email format will be part of the downloaded archive in JSON format.

After testing the Google Takeout service and downloading the purchases and reservation for a G Suite account, BleepingComputer discovered that, indeed, Google is also collecting purchase information for paid accounts even though the information will not be displayed on the accounts’ Purchases page.

While Google does say that purchases, bookings, and subscriptions are “brought together from across your Google Account” on the support document describing the tracking process, the company will not allow its paying customers to review the gathered information even though it gets collected.

Empty Purchases page for a G Suite account
Empty Purchases page for a G Suite account

Google said the data is not used to serve ads

Google confirmed the purchases information was being scraped from Gmail messages after being contacted by BleepingComputer before our initial report on Gmail users’ purchases being tracked.

The search giant also stated that this was being done to allow Gmail users to find their “purchases, bookings and subscriptions in one place” and that the company does not use any of the email information to serve personalized ads.

As a Google spokesperson told BleepingComputer at the time:

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. 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. We’re always working to help people understand and manage their data.

BleepingComputer also asked Google if G Suite accounts are excluded from the data extraction and if the gathered data is used for any other purposes, but did not receive any answered to these questions.

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