Google Is Now Tracking You Even If You’re Shopping Offline

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Short Bytes: After spreading its reach to every nook and corner of the internet, Google’s advertising business is, indirectly, ready to take care of the offline stores as well. The company has launched a new tool called Google Attribution that tracks your offline purchases after you click on an online ad. While this step has generated criticism from privacy advocates, Google has said that its tool respects the privacy of individuals.

It’s a known fact that Google tracks your every online activity. Just when you thought that this was enough, Google stepped up its surveillance game and decided to watch you offline too. Due to a set of recent changes, Google is giving the advertisers new ways to measure the customers’ offline purchases and tie it with their online spending.

Google has said that it’s going to launch a new tool–Google Attribution– that’ll track how much you’re spending in a bricks-and-mortar store after you click on some ad on a website. This change will result in a new way to analyze ad performance by combining both purchases which were made after watching the ad.

It should be noted that last year in December, a report published by ProPublica claimed that Facebook too tries to collect information about you from various offline sources as well.

Google’s senior vice president for ads, Sridhar Ramaswamy, said that most people don’t just click on an ad and buy something. People perform additional research, they read articles, watch videos, and visit a store.

Google announced that according to its metrics, more that 5 billion people visit stores globally. It’s worth noting that people who click on search ads are 25% more likely to buy something from a physical store.

As expected, this location tracking coupled with credit card records has raised many eyebrows. Multiple privacy experts have called this step too intimate and sensitive.

On the other hand, Google has said that it has taken measures to protect people’s private information. “Google services match transactions back to Google ads in a secure and privacy-safe way, and only report on aggregated and anonymized store sales to protect your customer data,” the company says in a blog post.

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Also Read: Google: Fuchsia OS Isn’t Replacing Android Yet
Adarsh Verma

Adarsh Verma

Fossbytes co-founder and an aspiring entrepreneur who keeps a close eye on open source, tech giants, and security. Get in touch with him by sending an email — [email protected]
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