Whenever you click that easy "Sign in With Google" button on a company's website, you're granting the app or service access to some of your information. While in some cases that might just be access to your name and email address, for others you're giving that company the ability to read your email as well.
Sure, that sign-on was super simple, but you're giving something up in return.
The Wall Street Journal did a big story on this a few months ago, which surprised a lot of people. Now, it's warning users again that there are still third-party apps reading your email. It's a good reminder, and if you haven't already, now's a good time for you to check out what apps and services you're granting access to your email to.
Over the past few weeks, there's been a huge focus on paying attention to the apps you have connected to your Facebook account. While that's certainly a great idea, you shouldn't ignore another large company that you're also probably handing over a lot of your personal info to as well. Google.
I know for me, there are a few apps I have intentionally given access to my email to in the past, specifically those that will let me know about price drops or help me get some cash from airlines if my flights get screwy. For instance, App in the Air has access to my Gmail, as does Streak, a service I use to track email.
To see what's connected to your account, click here on a desktop computer.
From there, go to "Apps with account access" under the "Sign-in & security." It's the third option on the left sidebar if you're having trouble finding it.
The next page will show you all the apps that have access to your Google account as well as all the sites you have saved passwords for using Google Smart Lock.
If you click on the app section, Google will list all the apps that have access to your account, along with what they have access to. For instance, I gave Pdffiller the ability to see my basic account and profile info, and my email address. If you see one you'd like to remove access for, click on it and a blue button will appear allowing you to remove it.
Unfortunately, if you want to use an app that needs info from your email, then you're going to have to be comfortable giving that app access to everything or choose to give it nothing and not use it at all.
That said, it's always a good idea to set a reminder to review what apps you've given access to your account to on a regular basis, both to remind yourself who might be reading and to revoke access to those apps you don't want to use anymore.