Google announces "Conversions" API for adding offline information to targeted online advertising

December 24, 2012 by Bob Yirka report

(—Google has announced (on its DoubleClick search site) the development of a new API that allows advertisers to combine online and offline information on users/customers resulting in more sophisticated online targeted advertising. The new API, called Conversions allows retailers to add information obtained via in-store transactions as well as that gained from call-tracking or from other activities (such as when customers take advantage of discounts, return items, experience credit problems or engage in fraud), to online data collected by Google. The result is a system that is expected to result in users finding ads being shown to them as they cruise the web that are tailor-made for them based on both their online and offline shopping and/or browsing habits.

Google explains that up till now, a gap has existed in user histories – between what users do while online, and what they do offline when visiting retail establishments. Conversions, they say, will help bridge that gap.

As part of the announcement, Google notes that as a matter of course, user data will be kept private and confidential, though the company declined to specify what sort of measures they will take to ensure that third party intruders don't gain access to the data that is collected. Also not mentioned is that the system only works when users and customers cooperate – to collect and merge data online users have to log in to a Google service (YouTube, Gmail, etc.) and remain logged in as they visit other sites. They have to use a credit card too, both in-store and online, as it's the only way that retailers can link online purchasing with offline transactions.

In another earlier post to its official blog, Google noted that governments around the world have been increasingly asking for user search and browsing data and because in many cases the company has been complying with such requests, it appears that even more information will be made available to such entities in the future based on new data supplied to Conversions. Whether users of services or customers of retailers will continue to go along with such programs and policies, however, remains to be seen.

Explore further: Google tightens bonds with YouTube users

More information:

Related Stories

Google to merge user data across more services

January 24, 2012

Google Inc. is overhauling the way it treats user data, linking information across its array of email, video and social-networking services so that information gathered in one place can be used in another.

Google revising privacy policies, data use

January 25, 2012

Google said it is revising its privacy policies and changing how it uses data from users of its services to provide more personalized search results and advertisements.

Microsoft slams Google user data policy in new ads

February 1, 2012

Microsoft Corp. took out full-age ads in major newspapers Wednesday, slamming privacy policy changes at search rival Google Inc. that allow it to merge user data across its services.

Recommended for you

For these 'cyborgs', keys are so yesterday

September 4, 2015

Punching in security codes to deactivate the alarm at his store became a thing of the past for Jowan Oesterlund when he implanted a chip into his hand about 18 months ago.

How to curb emissions? Put a price on carbon

September 3, 2015

Literally putting a price on carbon pollution and other greenhouse gasses is the best approach for nurturing the rapid growth of renewable energy and reducing emissions.

Magnetic fields provide a new way to communicate wirelessly

September 1, 2015

Electrical engineers at the University of California, San Diego demonstrated a new wireless communication technique that works by sending magnetic signals through the human body. The new technology could offer a lower power ...


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

2.3 / 5 (3) Dec 24, 2012
What kind of ads will customers who engage in fraud see?
3 / 5 (4) Dec 24, 2012
Big brother...
5 / 5 (3) Dec 24, 2012
Google: The biggest ADWARE company on earth.
2.3 / 5 (6) Dec 24, 2012
If there is a hell for corporations (there should be as Mitt Romney had stated that they are persons of some sort) then Google certainly should end there.
1.8 / 5 (5) Dec 24, 2012
TBH I've found the targeted advertising rather useful. Since I have conversations with engineering friends about projects on gmail, there have been several occasions where advertisements for parts and equipment have been targeted to me. Advertisements that actually MEAN something to me and tell me about suppliers I'd never heard of before.

If you're really paranoid about the whole thing you can OPT OUT of it here

as long as you have the opt-out plugin installed on your browser, you will be permanently blocking/circumventing the targeted advertising service.

the only thing I don't agree with is the fact that people don't know about this option. Google should be responsible for making this clear to their users.
2.6 / 5 (5) Dec 26, 2012
Google should rename themselves to Gobble. They are becoming greedy and they have lost site of Google. Greed will bring them down, its already begun with Google Shopping. No longer used by many since it only shows paid advertising, the rest of newbies will soon follow suite.
2.3 / 5 (12) Dec 26, 2012
Capitalism corrupts even those who possess the best intentions.
2.4 / 5 (28) Dec 26, 2012
An excellent reason to go cash-only and not give out personal information while offline shopping.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.