Google recently unveiled the ability to track credit card users’ offline purchases to their online portfolios. The new technology allows the company to show its users ads based on their offline purchase patterns. Google plans to use the data to attract users to its line of free services and to sell advertising. Google stated it has joined a network of third party vendors that gives the company over 70 percent access to a customer’s credit or debit card purchases.
Executives at Google state they have complex mathematical formulas in place that protect debit and credit card users’ private information. The executives also stated that the formulas make it impossible to know the identity of the card users. Google has stated in the past that protecting the privacy of its users is the company’s number one priority.
The problems lie in most consumers’ willingness to hand over personal information to Google. Because the company is a trusted name among most people, they feel confident the company will protect their private information. For the past several years, Google has had the ability to track people’s locations through Google Maps. The company gives that information to advertisers who want to know how many consumers visit their stores. Statistics show that consumers who purchase goods and services with their cards have less than a one in three chance Google does not know about the purchases.