Google today said it plans to limit what apps are allowed to do when granted access to users’ Gmail accounts and SMS, contacts, and phone call logs. In Gmail, Google will curtail the types of apps that are allowed to seek permission for Gmail data. Google says only apps that directly enhance or improve email functionality will be allowed to access Gmail. Further, apps that do need access to Gmail will need to adhere to strict new rules and be subject to occasional security audits. Similarly, Google plans to limit which types of apps are allowed to seek users’ SMS, call log, and contact information. Apps will need to show specific reasons for wanting this information. Only apps set as the default SMS and calling apps will be allowed to request such data. And users will be able to control this with more granularity. Last, Google plans to make contact interaction data unavailable to apps and developers. The company will make this change through the Android Contacts API over the next few months. Google encourages developers to review the new guidelines and update their apps accordingly. For end users, the result means apps will have less access to their data.
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