Google already monitors online shopping — but now it’s also keeping an eye on what people buy in physical stores as it tries to sell more digital advertising.
The Internet giant said Tuesday that a new tool will track how much money people spend in merchants’ bricks-and-mortar stores after clicking on their digital ads.
The analysis will be done by matching the combined ad clicks of people who are logged into Google services with their collective purchases on credit and debit cards. Google says it won’t be able to examine the specific items bought or how much a specific individual spent.
But even aggregated data can sometimes be converted back to data that can identify individuals, said Larry Ponemon, chairman of the Ponemon Institute privacy research firm.