Are we completely without privacy? Geesh! Well, the next time you click on a Google ad, beware the company could really be tracking you.
There's a new Google feature, called GOOG, can actually tell if you click an ad whether you made a credit or debit card purchase at that physical store. In other words, if you click on that Old Navy ad, then go to Old Navy and buy those capri pants, Old Navy's gonna know it!
While you may think it's a bit invasive, it's a great tool for advertisers. They actually pay Google for that kind of information - it's gives advertisers a better idea of just how successful their online ad campaigns are.
This isn't such a bizarre tactic. In fact, it's quite common among credit card companies. They give Google encrypted information about purchases, then the Google software compares that info with profiles of people who viewed relevant ads. The good news is Google won't be able to access any payment information like the person's name or what they bought.
And if this is a bit too much for you, you can always opt out. Just log out of your Google account before using search or you can turn off your search history so it's not saved. And of course, the sure way is to just pay cash for your purchases.