Google lets third party developers scan your Gmail : Report

Google allows various third-party developers to scan through its users’ Gmail for doing things like helping you find a good shopping deal or manage travel, said a report in the Wall Street Journal.

People most susceptible to email scanning are those who have subscribed to various online services like product price comparison websites and automated travel planning websites.

The Journal’s report mentioned two apps involved. One of them is Return Path, an app that analyzes users’ inboxes and collects data for marketers, according to the Journal. The newspaper said Return Path employees read about 8,000 user emails two years ago to help develop the company’s software.

The other is Edison Software, which helps users manage their email, reportedly let its employees read “thousands” of emails to help the app train its “Smart Reply” feature.

It is a common practice these days that the third party developers have access to users’ email inboxes. Most of these providers give users a choice of opting in or out of the practice. The point here is that even though Google is curbing its own practice of going through the users’ emails, it is allowing other companies to still do that.

Many representatives from these alleged third-party companies went on the record with WSJ, admitting to the fact that sifting through users emails has become a common practice at their workplaces. However, there are strict rules put in place as specified by user agreements.

In 2017, Google said it will soon stop reading the emails of its Gmail users to personalise their ads. Google recently rolled out new features for Android users to make it easier for them to navigate their Gmail accounts and review security and privacy options.

Gmail has nearly 1.4 billion users globally — more users than the next 25 largest email providers combined.

Google haven’t commented on the report.