We all know that using Google as our primary search engine then buying something leaves a digital paper trail. No surprise there.

But what about your offline purchases? Does Google know what you’re up to when you shop offline on Main Street USA?

Big Google Is Watching You

You might look for a specific video for a product you’re thinking of buying on YouTube. Who owns YouTube? Google.

Google also compiles information about your shopping if you use Google Maps to find a store, plus credit card transactions.

Over the years Google has managed to obtain access to about 70 percent of all credit card transaction in the United States.

Why Does Google Care Where You Shop?

Google sells advertising all over the place. By obtaining your shopping habits they can now prove to advertisers that Google ads had a hand in getting the shopper to the store — online or offline.

If you looked at a specific lawnmower online then show up at Home Depot to purchase it Google can make a pretty good case for helping the mass merchant with the sale.

Is All This Surveillance A Bad Thing?

Yes, I will agree there is a privacy issue here. But is that a bad thing?

The information that merchants gather has always determined what sells in the marketplace and what doesn’t.

Before computers if a store ran out of a product and people were upset what did the storeowner do? He or she got more of the wanted product back on the shelves as soon as possible.

Is that so different than what Google is doing? Mrs. Jones tells the storeowner of her displeasure at not finding what she came in for.

Was Mrs. Jones’ privacy violated?

For years sales people have been trained to ask how did you find us? That gave them some idea of the success or lack of success of their advertising.

Millions of consumers benefit from the information provided to merchants. Merchants can buy better, manage inventory better, and supply products and services to you cheaper and more efficiently.

Some Final Thoughts

Does the fact that Google or some other entity knows that you buy Tide or Miracle Grow Lawn Food really matter in the grand scheme of things?

If your bank shared your bank balance with Google then we might have something to talk about.

I would prefer that my merchant know what I buy so when I show up to buy it again there’s some on the shelf.

If it’s a really big deal to you that your purchasing habits are known to a major company then cash your paycheck and pay cash for whatever you buy.

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