Google, MasterCard teamed up to track what you’re buying in-store after seeing ads online

Google, MasterCard teamed up to track what you’re buying in-store after seeing ads online
Angel of light? Google AI processes thought. (Background image: Screen grab, YouTube/ColdFusion)

[Ed. – Yes, that means a massive sharing of your personal information.  Enough to connect you to your credit card, your user profiles online, and your browsing history.  Millions of dollars changed hands to “share” this information.  This intrusive surveillance is now the overhead of being a conventional shopper — and believe me, it won’t be better to use other services (e.g., PayPal or debit cards).  The only way to avoid it is to pay literal cash for everything.  Never let go of the cash option.]

For the past year, select Google advertisers have had access to a potent new tool to track whether the ads they ran online led to a sale at a physical store in the U.S. That insight came thanks in part to a stockpile of Mastercard transactions that Google paid for.

But most of the two billion Mastercard holders aren’t aware of this behind-the-scenes tracking. That’s because the companies never told the public about the arrangement.

Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Mastercard Inc. brokered a business partnership during about four years of negotiations, according to four people with knowledge of the deal, three of whom worked on it directly. The alliance gave Google an unprecedented asset for measuring retail spending, part of the search giant’s strategy to fortify its primary business against onslaughts from Amazon.com Inc. and others.

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