Despite being lucrative, the online ad business has its share of uncertainties, and Google (GOOG) knows it better than any other tech firm. However, the search service provider seems to have crossed the limits when it comes to user privacy, while striving to enhance ‘user experience’ on its platform – be it data usage or location tracking.
It is an open secret that the company tracks even offline activities to assess user behavior, which is used for optimizing ad interactions. With competition from the likes of Facebook (FB) rising, Google is busy devising new strategies to reach out to people.
According to reports, the company entered into a tie-up with Mastercard to assess the purchasing habits of several millions of the credit card company’s cardholders, in an attempt to target potential customers with more precision. It is learned that for more than a year, the tech giant has been snooping on Mastercard customers who search the internet for making shopping decisions while logged into Google Accounts.
Google entered into a tie-up with Mastercard to assess the purchasing habits of cardholders
However, there is no official announcement from the company about the partnership and the amount it might have paid to Mastercard for accessing the information. According to sources, the cardholders have been kept in the dark by the companies about the tie-up, making it yet another case of online privacy breach.
The concept, a well-thought-out one indeed, goes like this – Google keeps a record of all clicks on sponsored ad links. If a user purchases an item advertised on the platform in a physical store within 30 days of visiting the site, the credit for the transaction goes to the company and it is considered as ‘offline revenue.’
Recently, Google raised many eyebrows after a private investigation revealed it accessed the location history of users without consent for the Google Maps and Search services. Later, Google admitted to having tracked users’ whereabouts even when the location detection apps on their devices were disabled.
Like most of its peers in the tech industry, Google shares enjoyed a steady ascent over the years, all along setting new records. The stock hit an all-time high a month ago and is currently hovering near the $1,240-mark.