Google & # 393; had a deal with MasterCard to track buying habits & # 039;

Google has a secret deal with MasterCard that allows you to track whether the online ads showing people lead to shopping in the high street stores. The agreement allows the search giant to link the purchase histories of Mastercard customers to their email addresses (stock image)

Google maintains a secret agreement with MasterCard that allows it to track whether ads showing people online lead to purchases at street stores, according to a new report.

The alleged multibillion dollar agreement allows the California search company to link purchases of Mastercard customers to their email addresses.

These addresses are used to identify customers' online activity and track the ads they have seen on web pages and within mobile applications.

Google uses this information to determine if the ads successfully influenced their buying habits in the real world.

Neither Google nor MasterCard publicly confirmed the partnership, and both companies did not warn customers that their purchases at the store would be linked to their online activity, according to the report.

Google has a secret deal with MasterCard that allows you to track whether the online ads showing people lead to shopping in the high street stores. The agreement allows the search giant to link the purchase histories of Mastercard customers to their email addresses (stock image)

Google has a secret deal with MasterCard that allows you to track whether the online ads showing people lead to shopping in the high street stores. The agreement allows the search giant to link the purchase histories of Mastercard customers to their email addresses (stock image)

The agreement took four years to negotiate and has been active for the past 12 months, says Bloomberg, citing several anonymous sources.

The data that Google collected as part of the partnership allowed him to design a tool for advertisers that analyzes whether people who clicked on an online ad later bought the advertised product inside a brick and mortar store.

Both Google and Bloomberg say the data is anonymous, which means that purchase histories can not be linked and used for personally identifiable information, including your billing address, name, age or other details held by the two companies.

The tool tracks Google account holders, which automatically includes anyone with a Gmail or YouTube account, which is also one of the 2 billion MasterCard holders worldwide.

Google allows people to set up an account using third-party email providers, including Hotmail, Outlook, and iCloud. It is unclear if these account holders are affected by MasterCard's multi-million dollar deal.

When a Google user clicks on an online ad, the technology giant records this activity in a database, even if users do not buy the item.

Under the new agreement, if that person uses his MasterCard to buy the item in a physical store within 30 days, Google sends a report to the advertiser.

In the report, transactions made in the store are archived under a column called "Offline revenue," according to Bloomberg.

Google can also track purchases made by shoppers in main street trailers when they provide a Gmail email address at the cash register, to be used as an electronic receipt, for example.

For consumers who do not provide an email address, the company relies on external companies, such as MasterCard, that process card transaction data.

These include payment processors: businesses hired by merchants to handle transactions with debit and credit cards.

Google declined to comment on the alleged partnership, focusing instead on the advertising tools it launched in 2017.

"Before launching this beta product last year, we built a new double-blind encryption technology that prevents both Google and our partners from seeing the personally identifiable information of our respective users," a Google spokesperson told MailOnline.

Neither Google nor Mastercard publicly announced the partnership, and both companies did not warn customers that their purchases at the store were linked to their online activity (stock image)

Neither Google nor Mastercard publicly announced the partnership, and both companies did not warn customers that their purchases at the store were linked to their online activity (stock image)

Neither Google nor Mastercard publicly announced the partnership, and both companies did not warn customers that their purchases at the store were linked to their online activity (stock image)

"We do not have access to any personal information from our partners' credit and debit cards, nor do we share any personal information with our partners."

He added that people can choose not to participate in the program using the controls of & # 39; Web and application activity & # 39; of Google.

Settings are enabled by default and control whether Google can link your browsing history to your GPS location.

HOW CAN GOOGLE LINK WHAT YOU PURCHASE WITHOUT CONNECTION TO YOUR ONLINE ACTIVITY?

Google has several ways to link purchases made in physical stores to your online activity.

The company constantly monitors what you click if you have a Google account, which includes anyone with a YouTube or Gmail account.

If you provide a Google email address when you buy something in the store, the merchant will inform Google if it has an association with the company.

Google also has agreements with several external companies that process card transaction data.

These include payment processors: businesses hired by merchants to handle transactions with debit and credit cards.

This means that even if a store does not have a partnership with Google, other groups that see or process their card transactions can pass the customer information to the search giant.

A spokesperson for MasterCard said the items purchased are never linked to personally identifiable information, including billing addresses or account numbers.

"The way our network operates, does not know the individual items that a consumer buys in any shopping cart, either physical or digital," they said.

& # 39; No transactions or personal data are provided.

"That meets the expectation of privacy for consumers and merchants around the world.

"When processing a transaction, we see the name of the retailer and the total amount of the consumer's purchase, but not the specific items."

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