Pokemon Go No Longer Has Unrestricted Access to Your Google Account [UPDATE]

Meanwhile, Pokemon.com has suspended registrations due to "overwhelming demand."

9 Comments

GameSpot may get a commission from retail offers.

Update: An update is now available for Go that limits what it accesses from your Google account. This comes after Niantic told Game Informer that the unrestricted access request came as the result of an error.

Original Story: Pokemon Go, the new mobile game that seemingly everyone is playing, presents players with two ways to log in. One of those options, signing in with Google, gives the game unrestricted access to your account when playing on iOS.

This was discovered by player Adam Reeve, who shared his findings on Tumblr. Typically when logging in to a service with your Google account, you're informed about what part of your account it will have access to. Go doesn't tell you, which prompted Reeve to seek out an answer.

The Google permissions page (view yours here) states Go "has full access to your Google account." (This appears to only be true for those on iOS, but not Android.) That means it can read and send email as you, access your photos, and so on. For me personally, the only other app with those permissions is Google Chrome; things like OS X, Outlook, YouTube, and PlayStation Network are all restricted to less.

Now, this isn't to say Pokemon Go developer Niantic (which was originally a startup within Google) has any intention of emailing your mom unsavory pictures or anything of the sort. But this does present a potential security risk. Just as importantly, it's likely something the vast majority of users are unaware of. We've followed up with Go's developer to find out if it plans to adjust how the game handles Google permissions.

If you wish to revoke Go's access to your account, you can do so from the same permissions page mentioned above. This may prevent you from playing, however.

No Caption Provided

The alternative to logging in with a Google account is a Pokemon.com account (referred to as a Pokemon Trainer Club account). However, if you don't already have one of these, you're out of luck--the demand for Go forced registrations to be temporarily suspended. Another option for those concerned about their privacy is to simply create a new Google account, and use that to log in.

At least in its first week, Pokemon Go is a veritable sensation, providing a major boost for Nintendo and convincing fans to spend hundreds of dollars on a $35 accessory.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Join the conversation
There are 9 comments about this story