Google is always seeking new ways to improve its services—and there is nothing wrong with that, especially if things are done without breaking any rules. According to Bloomberg and Vanityfair, the tech giant is tracking credit cards of online purchases. Its target, according to Vanityfair, is to track how much is being spent in brick-and-mortar stores after a consumer clicks on digital ads.
By so doing, Google is helping advertisers to see whether online ad campaigns generate offline sales. The company was able to arrive at its result by capturing around 70 percent of credit and debit cards in the US.
Google Attribution as the company calls it, is a new product the search engine giant believes will solve a lot of unanswered questions.
“Google Attribution also makes it easy to switch to data-driven attribution. Data-driven attribution uses machine learning to determine how much credit to assign to each step in the consumer journey — from the first time they engage with your brand for early research down to the final click before purchase. It analyzes your account’s unique conversion patterns, comparing the paths of customers who convert to those who don’t, so you get results that accurately represent your business.”
While the company will now have access to details about your spending online, it will no doubt have information about the value of all your purchases in a particular period in time. Since it monitors your spending/purchasing in online stores, there is every tendency it has the ability to help advertisers build data about your purchasing ability.
The company is also capable of collecting location information from your phone. This gives the search engine giant a massive advantage when it comes to working out when an ad has been viewed by you. It also gives Google information on whether you have searched for the product advertised, and whether you have actually made an offline purchase.
Google’s latest move will come as a rude shock to privacy crusaders who already feel threatened by issues that bother on how private data is being shared by some companies online.
Access to private data by companies continues to be a major worry for Internet users. Last March, the House of Representatives passed a resolution overturning an FCC rule signed during the Obama administration. The FCC rule signed during the Obama era required permission from customers before internet providers could share their browsing history with other companies. The same rule, also permitted providers the power to protect customers from being vulnerable to hackers. Well, all that seems to be in the past as Congress voted in favor of selling your data to companies.
By so doing, the House of Representative is following in the footsteps of the Senate, which had earlier on passed a similar resolution.
The thing is, Americans spend a lot of time online and giving providers the all-clear to sell their browsing history is like monitoring their every move. It’s a crazy world to put it mildly; it basically means you have no right to privacy whenever you are online.