App developers are not reading your emails: Google on Gmail’s third-party access
Google says that it vets developers and their apps that integrate with Gmail before opening them for general access.
After facing a backlash over reports that third-party app developers can read your Gmail, Google on Wednesday said the company is continuously vetting developers and their apps that integrate with Gmail before it opens them for general access.
A Wall Street Journal report earlier this week claimed that the search giant is reportedly allowing third-party app developers scan through Gmail accounts.
Google "continues to let hundreds of outside software developers scan the inboxes of millions of Gmail users who signed up for email-based services offering shopping price comparisons, automated travel-itinerary planners or other tools", the report said.
According to Google, it gives both enterprise admins and individual consumers transparency and control over how their data is used.
"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," Suzanne Frey, Director, Security, Trust and Privacy, Google Cloud, said in a blog post.
Before a published, non-Google app can access your Gmail messages, it goes through a multi-step review process at the company, it said.
Frey stressed that the company reviews non-Google applications to make sure they continue to meet its policies, and suspend them when it is aware they do not.
"Before a non-Google app is able to access your data, we show a permissions screen that clearly shows the types of data the app can access and how it can use that data.
"We strongly encourage you to review the permissions screen before granting access to any non-Google application," the internet giant suggested.
According to Google, Gmail has safety features such as protections that allow it to prevent more than 99.9 per cent of spam and phishing emails from reaching the inbox.
"We do not process email content to serve ads, and we are not compensated by developers for API access. Gmail's primary business model is to sell our paid email service to organisations as a part of G Suite," Frey informed.
The practice of automatic processing has caused some to speculate mistakenly that Google "reads" your emails.
"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," she added.
Gmail has nearly 1.4 billion users globally -- more users than the next 25 largest email providers combined. In 2017, Google had said its computers will soon stop reading the emails of its Gmail users to personalise their ads.
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