GOOGLE IS demonstrating the value of its adverts in relation to in store purchases, and how it can help retailers serve up adverts based on your credit card activity.
Just days after news that Amazon looks set to bring its heavily automated stores to the UK, the Washington Post is reporting on plans for Google to monitor your credit card transactions in order to serve more relevant adverts.
We've said it before and we'll say it again. Eww.
After tracking five million transactions over five years, the company says that customers are 25 perc ent more likely to buy something in-store if they've previously clicked an advert.
It emphasises, however, that the data is anonymised and no credit card details are taken.
The Adwords Blog states: "If you collect email information at the point of sale for your loyalty program, you can import store transactions directly into AdWords yourself or through a third-party data partner. And even if your business doesn't have a large loyalty program, you can still measure store sales by taking advantage of Google's third-party partnerships, which capture approximately 70% of credit and debit card transactions in the United States."
It also emphasises that you can opt out of this, but it is very much opt-in by default.
Google hasn't actually explained how all this works, nor made clear what protections are in place to ensure personal data isn't intercepted, beyond the term "double-blind encryption."
"While we developed the concept for this product years ago, it required years of effort to develop a solution that could meet our stringent user privacy requirements," a Googler told the Post. "To accomplish this, we developed a new, custom encryption technology that ensures users' data remains private, secure, and anonymous."
But some studies have shown that with as little as three transactions, you can deduce who someone is without access to any of their personal data.
Google already has the ability to use Maps data to assist retail analysis of bricks and mortar habits, but so far, only a select few companies have taken up the offer.
With the prospect of this additional creepy data mining, privacy advocates are likely to be louder in their criticism of the move than the retailers who stand to benefit.
Google was recently criticised after its DeepMind division was given access to data about patient records within parts of the NHS without the full consent of those involved. µ
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