Zagat’s new iPhone app is like the best of Yelp and Foursquare

After buying the restaurant review company Zagat back in 2011, Google helped to modernize it with a new website, mobile apps and integration within Google Maps. Today, Zagat is getting its biggest upgrade yet on the iPhone, and it’s good enough to ma…

After buying the restaurant review company Zagat back in 2011, Google helped to modernize it with a new website, mobile apps and integration within Google Maps. Today, Zagat is getting its biggest upgrade yet on the iPhone, and it's good enough to ma…

Two more Chromebooks are ready to test Android apps

Nearly two months after Google confirmed the Play Store and more Android apps are coming to Chrome OS, it finally added support for the feature on some new hardware. The Acer Chromebook R11 and Chromebook Pixel have joined ASUS’ Chromebook Flip — wh…

Nearly two months after Google confirmed the Play Store and more Android apps are coming to Chrome OS, it finally added support for the feature on some new hardware. The Acer Chromebook R11 and Chromebook Pixel have joined ASUS' Chromebook Flip — wh…

Concerns Arise Over Pokémon Go Granting Full Access to Players’ Google Accounts

Pokémon Go is experiencing a momentous launch week, with an estimated 7.5 million downloads and nearly as many daily active Android users as Twitter in the United States. The rollout has not been entirely smooth, however, as the game has indirectly been at the center of crimes, robberies, and even car accidents.

Pokemon-go-accessPokémon Go has full access to your Google account (Image: Ars Technica)

Now, an even bigger potential concern has arisen, as systems architect Adam Reeve has discovered that Pokémon Go grants full access to a user’s Google account linked during the iOS sign-up process. Players can alternatively link a Pokemon.com account, but the website is currently experiencing issues for many users.

pokemon-go-sign-up
When granted full account access, Pokémon Go developer Niantic is theoretically capable of viewing and modifying nearly all information stored in your Google account, including your Gmail messages, Google Drive documents, Google Maps navigation history, search history, and personal photos stored on Google Photos.

Now, I obviously don’t think Niantic are planning some global personal information heist. This is probably just the result of epic carelessness. But I don’t know anything about Niantic’s security policies. I don’t know how well they will guard this awesome new power they’ve granted themselves, and frankly I don’t trust them at all. I’ve revoked their access to my account, and deleted the app. I really wish I could play, it looks like great fun, but there’s no way it’s worth the risk.

It remains unclear what information, if any, Niantic is actually collecting from users, but the permissions are concerning given the company’s history.

Niantic was formed by Keyhole founder John Hanke in 2010 as an internal startup at Google, until it was spun out as an independent entity in October 2015. Google then partnered with The Pokémon Company and Nintendo to invest up to $30 million in Niantic, so it has a remaining interest in the company.

Google is known to collect and track data from its users, fueling the privacy and security concerns. Niantic told Ars Technica that it has “no comment to share at the moment” about the issue, prompting some players to uninstall the game until the potential privacy implications are addressed.

Pokemon Go gameplay 2
Pokémon Go is available as a free download on the App Store [Direct Link] in the United States, Australia, and New Zealand, but anyone can install the app now with a U.S. iTunes account. The game is expected to expand to the U.K. and additional countries in the near future. Read more about Pokémon Go here.

Discuss this article in our forums

Pokémon Go is experiencing a momentous launch week, with an estimated 7.5 million downloads and nearly as many daily active Android users as Twitter in the United States. The rollout has not been entirely smooth, however, as the game has indirectly been at the center of crimes, robberies, and even car accidents.

Pokemon-go-access

Pokémon Go has full access to your Google account (Image: Ars Technica)


Now, an even bigger potential concern has arisen, as systems architect Adam Reeve has discovered that Pokémon Go grants full access to a user’s Google account linked during the iOS sign-up process. Players can alternatively link a Pokemon.com account, but the website is currently experiencing issues for many users.

pokemon-go-sign-up

When granted full account access, Pokémon Go developer Niantic is theoretically capable of viewing and modifying nearly all information stored in your Google account, including your Gmail messages, Google Drive documents, Google Maps navigation history, search history, and personal photos stored on Google Photos.

Now, I obviously don’t think Niantic are planning some global personal information heist. This is probably just the result of epic carelessness. But I don’t know anything about Niantic’s security policies. I don’t know how well they will guard this awesome new power they’ve granted themselves, and frankly I don’t trust them at all. I’ve revoked their access to my account, and deleted the app. I really wish I could play, it looks like great fun, but there’s no way it’s worth the risk.

It remains unclear what information, if any, Niantic is actually collecting from users, but the permissions are concerning given the company’s history.

Niantic was formed by Keyhole founder John Hanke in 2010 as an internal startup at Google, until it was spun out as an independent entity in October 2015. Google then partnered with The Pokémon Company and Nintendo to invest up to $30 million in Niantic, so it has a remaining interest in the company.

Google is known to collect and track data from its users, fueling the privacy and security concerns. Niantic told Ars Technica that it has “no comment to share at the moment” about the issue, prompting some players to uninstall the game until the potential privacy implications are addressed.

Pokemon Go gameplay 2

Pokémon Go is available as a free download on the App Store [Direct Link] in the United States, Australia, and New Zealand, but anyone can install the app now with a U.S. iTunes account. The game is expected to expand to the U.K. and additional countries in the near future. Read more about Pokémon Go here.

Discuss this article in our forums

Facebook Messenger’s SMS push might break Android app rules

Did you think Facebook was a little too eager to have you using Messenger for SMS on your Android phone? You’re not alone. Concerns are mounting that Facebook’s SMS prompt might violate Google Play’s policies prohibiting deceptive device settings c…

Did you think Facebook was a little too eager to have you using Messenger for SMS on your Android phone? You're not alone. Concerns are mounting that Facebook's SMS prompt might violate Google Play's policies prohibiting deceptive device settings c…

Elmo takes the spotlight in new YouTube series

Sesame Street’s producers realize that kids these days are spending their days glued to devices other than their TVs. Its presence on YouTube has more than two million subscribers, and it recently launched Sesame Studios to test new ideas on web-savv…

Sesame Street's producers realize that kids these days are spending their days glued to devices other than their TVs. Its presence on YouTube has more than two million subscribers, and it recently launched Sesame Studios to test new ideas on web-savv…

Former Android chief is betting on quantum computing and AI

Andy Rubin — one of the people who invented the Android platform — left Google in 2014, but he’s still helping shape the future of technology. At Bloomberg Technology Conference, he revealed that one of the startups his hardware incubator is backin…

Andy Rubin — one of the people who invented the Android platform — left Google in 2014, but he's still helping shape the future of technology. At Bloomberg Technology Conference, he revealed that one of the startups his hardware incubator is backin…

Google lends support to the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a wide-ranging and controversial trade agreement between 12 countries that President Obama has strongly supported throughout its creation. Today, he received a major ally in the form of Google — the comp…

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a wide-ranging and controversial trade agreement between 12 countries that President Obama has strongly supported throughout its creation. Today, he received a major ally in the form of Google — the company end…

Google’s VR prototypes give you charming and strangely expressive googly eyes

daydreamheader How best to represent a person in virtual space? A square with their avatar picture on it? Too Slack. A custom face crafted with a million sliders? Too Second Life. A 3D scan of their face? Too “Lawnmower Man.” Then perhaps… a cartoon representation of the headset the user is wearing, with giant googly eyes on the front? You, my friend, are crazy like a fox. Read More

daydreamheader How best to represent a person in virtual space? A square with their avatar picture on it? Too Slack. A custom face crafted with a million sliders? Too Second Life. A 3D scan of their face? Too “Lawnmower Man.” Then perhaps… a cartoon representation of the headset the user is wearing, with giant googly eyes on the front? You, my friend, are crazy like a fox. Read More