Nat - Personal CRM
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Nat - Personal CRM

What is a Gmail Metadata integration and why you should use it

Screenshot of the Gmail app on an IPhone

Privacy matters, a lot. In the past years, we’ve mostly just trusted companies with our data, but as it turned out, that wasn’t a good idea.

Websites like or the Cambridge Analytica scandal, remind us every day that our data is not 100% safe and that no matter what a company promises us, keeping them accountable is hard, and we (the users) always pay the price.

Your email data is the most confidential data you have

Have you ever thought about all the stuff that gets into your emails? Every purchase you make, every online account you create, every flight you book, … it’s all in your emails. For most of us, emails are also the main way we communicate, share contracts, agreements and more. I can’t think of a single source of data that can tell more about someone than their email history.

This is why you should be very suspicious and careful when a tool you signed up to asks you to give them access to your emails.

An example of a Google authorisation page

Most tools request read access to your inbox

This is absolutely shocking, but being an entrepreneur myself, I know why this is the case. From all the CRMs I’ve tried, I haven’t found a single app that offers a metadata integration. Instead, every single app requires me to share the content of every single email I’ve ever sent or received!

This is because the metadata integration requires a lot of time and effort to be built, but that’s no reason to put users at risk.

Of course, worries about privacy are debatable. Some people care more than others, but that is no reason to force everyone to share highly confidential data with a company.

Some people might indeed enjoy having the ability to read emails from their CRM app (or any other Gmail-related apps), but I would argue that the benefit doesn’t outweigh the cost of such a decision.

Most companies have suffered data breaches

I do of course expect every company to secure user data and do their best to protect it ( even though some clearly don’t care), but 100% security does not exist. As a reminder, here is a list of famous companies that have had massive security breaches:

All of those companies literally gave access to personal, identifiable information such as emails, credit cards, passwords and more to hackers. If companies with millions of budget in security can get hacked, you can expect every company to get hacked at some point.

This is why it’s the company’s responsibility to protect their users by reducing the risks in case they get hacked. If someone can access your emails, they can reset your passwords, most likely access your social security number and more. This can have dramatic consequences on your life.

Giving anyone read access to your email inbox is a huge security threat that you need to consider. Check out this page to see all the apps that you’ve given access to your data.

Gmail is aware of those security threats, and that’s why they’ve created a new integration that gives apps access to less sensitive email data.

Here is a short comparison of the data both integrations share with the third-party app.

As you can see, Gmail metadata is clearly sufficient for most apps. A CRM can still generate timelines, show you your emails inside the app and much more, without compromising your privacy in a very dangerous way!

  1. Check out this page and review/remove all the apps that have access to your data.
  2. Contact the apps that have access to your emails and ask them to build a metadata integration.

Originally published at




Nat is a Personal CRM that helps CEOs, founders and consultants to stay in touch with their network by figuring out who they’re losing touch with automatically based on their data.

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Nathan Ganser

Nathan Ganser

Digital nomad, building apps and having fun!

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