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A hot potato: Gmail's App Store entry finally has its privacy "nutrition labels" posted. Apple began requiring the transparency information on December 10 but allowed developers to add it on the next app update. Knowing this, Google updated Gmail and its other apps on December 8 and has not updated them since (except for YouTube).
MacRumors noticed on Monday that Google had finally added the required data collection information to the Gmail app, and it is surprisingly (or maybe not) extensive. There are 10 data categories Gmail collects and shares to improve third-party advertising, analytics, product personalization, and app functionality.
As far as third-party advertising goes, Google only shares your course location, user ID, and advertising data. However, it collects for its own use other information such as contacts, search history, purchase history, photos, video, audio data, and the vague "other user data" and "other data types."
What does the app privacy label for Gmail look like? See for yourself. pic.twitter.com/LpOPfg4Iq2— Mitchell (@strawberrywell) February 23, 2021
Keep in mind that the app needs much of this data to meet users' functionality expectations. For example, to send a video or picture to someone via email, Gmail will need access to your camera and or camera roll. This does not mean that Google is grabbing and snooping through all your videos. However, from a technical sense, it is collecting the ones you send and storing them in your Sent folder on its servers.
Arguably the oddest thing about Google updating its Gmail app description is that it did not push an actual software patch with it. Earlier this month, most of Google's apps were warning users that they were "out of date." Having already passed its own internal timers, it's strange that the Gmail labels didn't come with an app update.
Image credit: Koshiro K