SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Liz McMillan, Zakia Bouachraoui, Elizabeth White, William Schmarzo, Dana Gardner

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Your Credit Card Spending is Next on Google’s Secret Agenda

Google Says It’s Been Secretly Monitoring Your Data

Google offers many free products, but they may not be as free as you think. In return for the products and services you use, Google secretly monitors and collects data from you. They know more about you than you might want them to, but that’s the price you have to pay.

Their next source of data collection is your credit card usage.

Marketers Get More Information

According to a recent BBC report, Google is planning to track billions of debit and credit card interactions to show how online ad clicks and interactions compare with purchases made offline. Their goal is to help digital advertisers test the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns.
for both offline and online purchases. Online advertisers will be either be able to purchase this information as a service or add it to the list of free Google tools available to them.

“For the first time, Google Attribution makes it possible for every marketer to measure the impact of their marketing across devices and cross-channel — all in one place,” said the official announcement. It’s an exciting time for marketers who need more accurate data to fuel their campaigns.

Consumers Privacy Called Into Question

When you consider how much information Google has been monitoring over the years, this announcement shouldn’t be a shock. In fact, Google has been skimming about 70 percent of your credit and debit card transactions in the United States already. Third-party partnerships sell this information to Google who uses it for their own analytical purposes. This is exactly why it’s important to read the fine print in your online transactions if you want to keep information private.

Obviously, certain safety and privacy concerns have arisen from this kind of transaction. Google has already taken some steps to address these potential issues and is working on increasing transparency here so that consumers aren’t so nervous. For example, the data gathered will not be done on an individual level. It will come in a mass so that it’s impossible to tell who’s information the search engine is using.

“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 spokesman told the BBC. “To accomplish this, we developed a new, custom encryption technology that ensures users’ data remains private, secure, and anonymous.”

If Google is taking your information, you can be relatively certain that it will remain safe based on their strict privacy policies

. Most people are more concerned about when it reaches the hands of others.

However, most believe that privacy shouldn’t really be a concern here. They say that since marketers are dealing with more sensitive data, they’re more likely to keep things safe.

“What’s really fascinating to me is that as the companies become increasingly intrusive in terms of their data collection, they also become more secretive,” Marc Rotenberg, the executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, told The Washington Post.

Consumers Get a Better Ad Experience

On the outside, this new data collection experience might seem like a problem for consumers who want to maintain their privacy. However, it could actually have a more positive experience than they might realize.

For instance, advertisements will be more targeted to a specific consumer’s need. There will be fewer irrelevant ads and more shopping experiences that are fulfilling instead of annoying to the customer. Google will know that you’re more likely to shop for baby things offline than you are online, for instance. Therefore, when they detect from your browsing history that you’re shopping for a baby, they can send you advertisements for offline baby stores where you can get exactly what you’re looking for.

Content creation will also improve. Based on search history and purchases, The collected information can be very useful for things like helping people get their first credit card, planting their first garden, or performing any number of activities.

Basically, the information can be a blessing in disguise. We all know the experience of being a frustrated shopper, and the data Google will collect is designed to include an all-inclusive experience that will eliminate some of that irritation.

It’s Still Optional

Google is working hard to develop a feature that will be more pleasing for both marketers and consumers. “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 spokesman told BBC. “To accomplish this, we developed a new, custom encryption technology that ensures users’ data remains private, secure, and anonymous.”

This basically means that if you give them your data, they’ll keep it safe. However, it’s a free country, so you can opt out if you wish. Their primary goal is to offer supreme services to both businesses and consumers without compromising privacy and security.

More Stories By Larry Alton

Larry Alton is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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