Is Google spying on your shopping habits? - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Is Google spying on your shopping habits?

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PHOENIX -

Black Friday is right around the corner and here's something to be aware of when you do your shopping. Your every move inside the mall or store is possibly being watched and recorded by Google. The online giant is testing a new program designed to monitor your shopping habits.

"Google is now using technology in your phone to track where you are going what you are shopping and what you are doing."

FOX 10's Social Media Manager Jeff Moriarty is talking about a program that Google is reportedly testing -- a way to track your smart phone so Google can connect online sales with your purchases at the mall -- and don't think your iPhone is immune.

"They are using their applications on the different smart phones so it works on both the Apple iPhone a your Android devices," said Moriarty.

Here's how it works:

"Let's say you want to buy an XBOX and you search for that in your phone and you head to the mall and you go into the store to purchase one.  They can look at your location and say ha ha you searched for it, then went here.. no he's buying it and they are putting all of this together into one big picture of what you are doing," said Moriarty.

It's a program Nordstrom first tried on customers inside their stores.

"What they were doing is they would look at someone's phone, they would just see a phone come in.. now this phone is over in electronics.. now it's in clothes and it's moving around the store."

Google is taking it one step further: tracking you while shopping anywhere -- not just online, but while you are walking or driving from store to store.

"They say they are selling it to advertisers.  Somebody says 'Oh, I want to be the number one,' add that shows up when someone searches for an XBOX, then that's something Google can charge them," said Moriarty.

As for reaction from our Facebook fans, most seemed resigned to the fact that surveillance is just part of life.

Diane wrote, "Who cares.  If you think you have a private life, think again."

Melody has an idea, "Yep.  I think I'm going to start paying with cash for everything."

And this from Tim, "Like it or not, this is just how it is nowadays.  Everything you do is tracked and analyzed for the sake of gaining a competitive advantage.  It is an uncomfortable reality, especially knowing that it'll only get worse, but a reality nonetheless."

Meanwhile, on Mill Avenue in Tempe, a mixed response to Google monitoring.

"It just depends on where that information goes," said Veronica.  "I understand when they use it for personal advertisement and things like that."

Carlo said, "I don't feel right.. people tracking me down.. I feel like a hunted animal."

Igor adds, "I don't' really like it.  It's Google I guess.  They are a powerful company.  They can do whatever they want pretty much."

But if there was a way to disable your phone?  To keep Google or anyone else from tracking you.  Would you do it?

"I think everybody would do that honestly.  Anybody who didn't would be stupid not to," said Igor.

In fact, there is a way.  First, turn off your wi-fi.

"If you are going out shopping, moving around town and you don't need your wi-fi to connect to your network, turn off your radio.. that's going to make it more difficult for any of these services to track where you are going," said Moriarty.

And turn off your GPS.

"On the iPhone, it's called location services.. see this little arrow going on up in the corner?  That means something on your phone is reporting your location back," said Moriarty.  "Turn off location services and turn off your wi-fi and these companies can't track you."

t would start tracking store visits in a blog it posted last month.

For more information from Google - go to:  http://adwords.blogspot.com/2013/10/estimated-total-conversions.html

For more information on Google's program go to:  http://marketingland.com/google-debuts-adwords-cross-device-conversion-estimates-phone-and-in-store-conversions-coming-60458

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