Google is now following you into stores

The company is testing a program that registers your visits to retail outlets using the location services technology on your smartphone.

By Benzinga Nov 7, 2013 2:34PM

The Google logo is seen on a podium and projected on a screen at Google headquarters in Mountain View, Califorina Paul Sakuma/AP By Jim Probasco

Google (GOOG) wants to know where you are and what you are doing -- specifically, what you are buying -- at all times.

According to Digiday, the company is testing a program that registers your visits to bricks-and-mortar stores via your smartphone, provided certain conditions are met.

Those conditions include whether you have opted in to location services on your Apple (AAPL) iPhone or Android device. Chances are you have, according to Dan Auerbach, staff technologist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, who told Digiday most users don’t realize they have opted in for constant tracking.

"The disclosure mechanism for these apps is pretty weak," Auerbach said. "I think there’s a gap between user expectations and what apps are really doing."

It’s easier for Google to track your buying habits if you have an Android phone or device since location tracking is part of the OS. Apple iOS users, however, are not off the hook. If you have an iPhone and use Google apps, you have probably opted in to location services with that app. Even when you stop using the app, tracking continues in the background.

Between Android, with 45.9 percent market share, and iOS, with 38.3 percent according to eMarketer, a significant chunk of smartphone users is subject to Google tracking.

According to Business Insider, it’s all part of Google’s war with Facebook (FB) for advertising dollars. The idea is to provide a mechanism for letting advertisers know about consumer buying habits and to reassure advertisers that their investment resulted in “conversions” or sales because of an advertising campaign.

How the system works is both simple and complex. If you conduct a Google mobile search for a specific product, say a popular toy as a Christmas gift, Google could steer you to a nearby Target (TGT) store that carries that toy.

Later, Google could tell Target that not only did it suggest you visit that store but that based on location data you did, in fact, go there. It’s advertising and follow-up marketing data at an extraordinarily high level.

As Digiday pointed out, location tracking is not new for Google. What is changing is the way in which that data is used.

Google called the overall process Estimated Total Conversions and described it in an Oct. 1 blog post. According to the post, Estimated Total Conversions would provide advertisers with a “holistic view of all of the conversions driven by your Google search advertising that can be used to make important decisions like how much to bid and how to assign budget across your various marketing channels. “

At the time of this writing, Jim Probasco had no position in any mentioned securities.

Read more from Benzinga

Nov 7, 2013 3:50PM

What is the matter with these anti-social medias like Google and Facebook? Even Apple keeps trying to load its tracking software on my desktop computer. Apple, it's a desktop computer. Meaning it doesn't travel. Geez. Get a grip will you, please.


Don't they know people will just stop using anything remotely connected to them that insists on even following them into the bedroom and bathroom.


Google: Read the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. You need to become a responsible corporate citizen.

Nov 7, 2013 3:57PM

Well time to delete all Google apps.......


Location Service is always off on my phone until the app ask me to turn it on. Then after I am done I turn it off again...........


 Google, Facebook helping the government track you....


 Can you say BIG BROTHER..............




I ALWAYS put my phone under my tin foil hat before entering a store and it blocks their evil signal.....


[But the hat makes it really hard to get help at the cust service desk]


Nov 7, 2013 4:36PM
My phone will be off from now on when I go out. Kind of defeats the purpose of a mobile phone, but I'm sick of these intrusions into our privacy.

I also do not shop at stores that require a card to get their sale prices.

Soon businesses and the govt. will want monitoring cameras in all the rooms in our houses.

It's worse than even Orwell imagined. 
Nov 7, 2013 4:29PM

And this is coming from the company who was all up in arms because they suspected NSA was spying on them.


Biggest bunch of hypocritical <you know what's> on this planet.  That is why I got rid of my Android Phone.  I got fed up of being FORCED to sign into GMAIL every time I tried to do anything.  Excuse me, I don't need to sign into GMAIL to use the GPS, but according to Google, I do because they want to know where I am... My answer to them, I can't post here, but it CONTAINS the words:  None Of Your <....> Business.


I don't even login to my GMAIL account anymore.  I didn't even setup on my newly built computer, because I could care less about that company.   And people are complaining our GOVERNMENT is getting too involved in our lives?  Time to wake up and realize Google is FAR MORE A THREAT to invading your personal privacy than the Government.


As an FBI agent pointed out in a recent interview.  "Google probably knows more about my personal life and where I have been in the last week, than the Government does.  Who should you be worried about?"


And people are up in arms about city governments installing public video cameras on the streets to help with crime prevention, and sit and carry phones that are doing 100X more spying on their personal lives than that camera will EVER do, and are perfectly happy with that?


Man we live in a world of confused sheeple.


Nov 7, 2013 4:33PM
Back to the dumb phones where I can take the battery out days before I purchase guns and ammo [IN THE STREET FOR CASH].
Nov 7, 2013 3:15PM
Another reason I have a Widows Phone, deleted my Gmail and never use goggle search.

"Big Brother is watching"

  The book "1984" by George Orwell

Nov 7, 2013 4:59PM
Really simple, just turn those features off on your phone. They drain the battery anyhow.
Nov 7, 2013 6:46PM
I wonder if google knows I'm wiping my @ss with one of their phones right now.....
Nov 7, 2013 5:59PM
In play in reality RIGHT NOW

 ---- National ID cards are now being floated by establishment Republicrats to exchange for support of "comprehensive" immigration reform (aka amnesty).  You can bet --- immigration application is just the first stop for this Orwellian dream.

Better get back on the phone to your representative and senators and tell them --- :SHUT IT DOWN !   SHUT IT DOWN !       SHUT IT DOWN !

The statist Republicrats never stop trying.   However, they will be stopped.  It just depends if they want to do it the easy way.

Nov 7, 2013 8:39PM
people are dumb as dogshit.. this is nothing new people .. you have been tracked for a long time now .. you just didn't know it LOL
I frequently use YouTube which is owned by Google,and I can't post or receive comments on my YouTube channel order to do so,I must agree to its services by installing Google Chrome in my system.the company wants to have complete control of the internet industry by trying to bring as many users as possible.Larry Page and Sergey Brin will soon become the richest Americans.their personal wealth is over 23 billions and their company is still growing and expending.   
Nov 7, 2013 11:40PM
The exact reason why I'll never buy an Apple or Android device and own a Nokia Lumia 900 Windows Phone and turn off location services at least once a week to make sure everyone stays honest. I switched to Bing two years ago and never use Google or Yahoo.  Google's $1000 PS is one click away from being $300 PS.
Nov 8, 2013 11:33AM
Only people who are paranoid or have something to hide like criminals, scammers, perverts, etc., hate being monitored. I for one, have nothing to hide, as I live an honest life and my life is an open book.

Anyways, for those of you that are freaked out about your privacy, you can always use smart bombs and smart weapons on those intruding bastards. That will show them not to monitor your smart phones. Good luck!

P.S. If so many of you are so paranoid about privacy issues, why are you here blogging? Go hide in your basement and never leave home. That's no life I choose to live! Have a great life all,.... I know I am living a great life!

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