Pokémon GO developed by Niantic Labs, became insanely popular over the past week. Millions of users have already downloaded the game making it reach the top of the chart on both Android and iOS platform markets. While vast majority of the users are enjoying and getting addicted to the sensation of the new game, many are unwary on what level of information they are currently sharing with Google and Niantic Labs.
As it turns out, when users launch the game for the first time, the app requires you to login using either a Pokémon Club account or using your existing Google account. Given the options, most users will surely be choosing the route that says ‘Sign in with your Google Account’ which is easier specifically for Android users who already possessed Google account. Also, not everyone will be able to create or register a Pokémon Club account specially those coming from the unsupported regions. In normal circumstances, an app will only request basic information like your name and email address. But with Pokémon GO, you are giving Niantic Labs the right to have full access to your Google account. You can also notice that unlike most of the apps, Pokémon GO will not ask you to confirm a request on which kind of information it will gain access to. This is quite scary if you will check account permission on Google support page.
From Google’s account permission support page:
Full account access
When you grant full account access, the application can see and modify nearly all information in your Google Account (but it can’t change your password, delete your account, or pay with Google Wallet on your behalf).
Certain Google applications may be listed under full account access. For example, you might see that the Google Maps application you downloaded for your iPhone has full account access.
This “Full account access” privilege should only be granted to applications you fully trust, and which are installed on your personal computer, phone, or tablet.
If you’ve granted full account access to an app you don’t trust or recognize, we recommend that you revoke this permission by clicking the Revoke access button.
Niantic Labs already let out an official statement to clarify the issue. The company says that they have discovered that the Pokémon GO account creation process erroneously request full access permission for the user’s Google account. However, they clarify that Pokémon GO only access basic Google profile and that they are not reading your emails or collecting other personal data. Yet it is clear that the app still has far more access than is necessary for the game and the company says they are working on a fix for the app to only request the correct permission.
If you feel uncomfortable giving Pokemon GO the full access to your account, we have provided a simple guide on how to revoke Pokémon GO’s access to your Google account here.