Google clarifies confusion over outside app developers reading user emails


After Gmail was accused of giving access to third-party app developers to read emails of users, Google has now given a clarification by explaining as to how it works with outside app developers.

In its blog post, Google clarified its role with outside app developers claiming that it vets the third-party apps to ensure they ‘only request relevant data’ and can ‘accurately represent themselves’. “The practice of automatic processing has caused some to speculate mistakenly that Google ‘reads’ your emails,” the blog reads.

The backlash started when a report from the Wall Street Journal mentioned that the tech giant lets a lot of outside app developers and their employees read Gmail users’ personal emails. The report claimed that users who signed up for ‘email-based services offering shopping price comparisons, automated travel-itinerary planners or other tools’ to be most affected by the infringement.

However, Google clarified that it gives both enterprise admins and individual consumers transparency and control over how the data is used, reported Khaleej Times. “We make it possible for applications from other developers to integrate with Gmail – like email clients, trip planners and customer relationship management (CRM) systems – so that you have options around how you access and use your email,” wrote Google.

Google explained that a non-Google app goes through multi-step review process before gaining access to emails. “It includes automated and manual review of the developer, assessment of the app’s privacy policy and homepage to ensure it is a legitimate app, and in-app testing to ensure the app works as it says it does.”

Google also said that before giving access to outside apps developers, it takes permission from the user stating what the user is giving access to and how the data will be used. It also recommended users to review the permissions screens before agreeing to anything.

“To be absolutely clear: no one at Google reads your Gmail, except in very specific cases where you ask us to and give consent, or where we need to for security purposes, such as investigating a bug or abuse,” the blog read.