This might well be the creepiest page ever: All the purchases a user has ever done. If the user receives a confirmation email for a purchase they made, the user is not notified that Google collected and displays this piece of information in this page. There is no explanation why they are collecting all the purchases in one page, and apparently there is no way to opt out of this or even delete the purchases from the list.

There is a page in the activity settings where the user can delete most data, but the purchases can only be viewed, with a link to the page I shared in the previous toot.

The description makes it look like they are collecting data only from services, but they also look for emails from Amazon and Steam in the user's inbox. That description is deliberately misleading.


I'm usually careful about the permissions and the activity I allow to track (which is pretty much nothing), but this somehow slipped away.

Was I distracted? (Maybe.)
Are the privacy and activity settings on Google a mess? (Yes.)
Is it something they introduced recently, and they harvested the data retroactively? (I have no reasons to say ‘no’.)

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@miramarco I tend to believe Google everything is purposely a mess, so users will never quite understand what’s going on. Often I’m not even sure Google understands. The prospects are a little scary.

@Averly I can see that chaos can derive from a simple lack of organization, and Google accounts, which is where many products developed by different teams meet, are incredibly complex.

And yet I don't think that this alone can explain that lack of clarity completely, especially because the Google account pages have been reworked quite recently.

@miramarco I admit I’ve become more paranoid about their lack of transparency lately. They’re so huge in scope and I’m not sure we’ll ever truly know what’s going on behind the curtains.

@miramarco Ughhhhhh. This is really a motivation to change my general email to something not gmail.
It's not just amazon and steam (to clarify). I've got B&N, Etsy, my uni's bookstore site. So I assume it's anything that says "purchase" in your email.

@miramarco Also this might seem silly. Does yours also only go back a year? I'm wondering if that's to mitigate freakout factor (since there's no reason it can't read all my emails) or what. =/

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