Google has been keeping tabs on what you buy through your Gmail inbox and storing them in a Google Account page that evidently no one knew about. This purchase tracking has gone on for several years before being discovered. In essence, this creates a list of your online shopping history that can stretch back five years. Google said they are doing this to help their users keep track of everything they’ve purchased in one place — but people are seeing this as an invasion of privacy.
Google has promised that you’re the only one who can see this data.
We’ll show you how to find your online purchases on Google’s My Activity page, manage what’s being tracked and delete what’s there.
See your purchases, subscriptions and reservations
1. Google tracks multiple email types through Gmail, including purchases, payments, subscription services and reservations, say for hotels, cars and airline tickets. To view and manage them, start by navigating to https://myaccount.google.com/.
2. Select Payments & subscriptions.
3. From here, you can click into each grouping. You can view items here, which could include a subscription to YouTube or Google Photos, a Google Music payment or apps you bought from the Google Play store. Reservations can include hotels, restaurants and flights.
4. Click into each item and tap “Remove reservation”, “Remover purchase” and so on to delete anything you don’t want stored in your Gmail account.
Manage your web and app activity
Your Web and App Activity includes searches through Google, Maps and Play. This is how you can update your settings. You’ll be able to pause activity from being recorded and delete anything that has been saved — especially private information.
1. Visit https://myaccount.google.com/.
2. Select Data & personalization.
3. Tap or click Manage your activity controls.
4. From here, you can turn off and delete activity being saved to Google. Even if you’re not online, Google is still able to keep track of your activity and will sync the data once you’re online, so keep your Web & App Activity off if you want to keep things private.
View your voice and audio activity
1. Go to https://myaccount.google.com/ and select Data & personalization.
2. Tap or click Voice & Audio Activity.
3. Select Manage Activity.
4. On this page, you’ll be able to see all voice recordings and change your settings.
If you have an Android, you probably use Google Maps to navigate from place to place. Google keeps track of your location history, so if you want to delete it, you’ll need to follow these steps.
1. Go to Settings on your Android device and tap Google > Google Account.
2. Tap Data & personalization.
3. Select Location History.
4. Tap Manage Timeline, where you’ll be taken to Google Maps.
5. Tap the three stacked dots and select Settings. From here, you can delete your location history.
Choose what you want (or don’t want) saved
1. Go to your Google account.
2. Tap or click Data & personalization.
3. Select My Activity.
4. At the top right corner, tap or click the three stacked dots.
5. Select Delete activity by. From here you can choose to delete the activity by date, topic or product.
6. A window will pop up letting you know your activity will be permanently deleted and no longer tied to you. Tap or click Delete.