Google is tracking your purchases through Gmail

Every time a store sends a confirmation to your Gmail account, Google adds it to your list of purchases.

Corinne Reichert Senior Writer
Corinne Reichert (she/her) grew up in Sydney, Australia and moved to California in 2019. She holds degrees in law and communications, and currently oversees the CNET breaking news desk for the West Coast. Corinne covers everything from phones, social media and security to movies, politics, 5G and pop culture. In her spare time, she watches soccer games, F1 races and Disney movies.
Expertise News
Corinne Reichert
2 min read

Google is keeping a list of your online transactions.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Google is keeping a list of your online purchases, thanks to confirmation emails being sent to your Gmail account.

As discovered by CNBC, Gmail users can click to see a list of their transactions, which goes back at least five years.

"Only you can see your purchases," Google says on the page. "Google protects your privacy and security."

Though Google outlines how to delete the transactions in three steps, it took a little more than that when we tried out the process.

Corinne Reichert/CNET

To delete something, you can click on a purchase, which will bring up an itemized list of everything you bought in that transaction. You can then click the "i" button for information, and then on "where's this from?"

Google will tell you if the purchase was found in your Gmail, after which you can either click "got it" or "view email." You'll then be taken to your Gmail account, the email will load, and you can delete it entirely.

Only then will the transaction disappear from your purchase history.

Google says it also tracks purchases via orders placed using Google services such as Google Express and the Google Play Store, as well as through the Google Assistant.

A Google spokesperson said the page is meant to help people view and keep track of their purchases, bookings and subscriptions.

"We don't use any information from your Gmail messages to serve you ads, and that includes the email receipts and confirmations shown on the Purchase page," the spokesperson added in a statement Friday.

The search giant has been making a bigger push into online shopping, this week revamping its Shopping hub to allow people to shop directly from Google itself.

Later this year, Google will also enable people to purchase products seen in YouTube videos like makeup tutorials.

Originally published May 17, 4:51 p.m. PT.
Update, 5:47 p.m.: Adds Google's response.