FOR PEOPLE THAT WANT to keep their activities secret from Google, using actual shops would seem to be a pretty good solution, provided you have the willpower to leave your smartphone at home. It’s not foolproof though, as it seems Google has been buying American Mastercard data to fill in its algorithmic blind spots.
The news comes via an investigation by Bloomberg, which revealed that the two companies had reached a deal after some four years of wrangling.
What’s in it for Mastercard should be obvious (it starts with an ‘M’ and rhymes with ‘honey’), but why would Google want to know what Mastercard owners have been buying? Simple: it tells them how well their online ads are working. If you’re shown a Google ad, and then buy the product offline, then the adverts are performing well – just not as the Pay Per Click model was intended.
The information reportedly costs Google millions of dollars, which sounds like a lot, but to a company of Google’s status is a bit like losing 10p down the back of the sofa. Both companies have assured people that the data is anonymised, with Google just curious about how the ads perform in abstract, rather than dying to know whether you personally bought that deluxe foot spa Google kept showing you pictures of.
In other words, if an anonymous Google account clicks an advert, and then goes on to buy the product offline within 30 days, the company will include the information in a summary to the advertiser in question.
“Before we launched this beta product last year, we built a new, double-blind encryption technology that prevents both Google and our partners from viewing our respective users’ personally identifiable information,” a spokesperson from Google told The Verge.
“We do not have access to any personal information from our partners’ credit and debit cards, nor do we share any personal information with our partners. Google users can opt-out with their Web and App Activity controls, at any time.”
That oddly well-hidden setting can be found here. You’re welcome. µ
Source : Inquirer