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The search giant said past year it would stop scanning user emails for data that helps marketers target ads.

To find out and edit which third-party apps have access to your Gmail account, head to the My Account page and login. Most internet users have more than one email address, including work emails and personal ones.

Google allows software developers from outside the company to read through users' inboxes. There is also no option to deny certain access, it is always an all or nothing type of situation.

But it turns out that your email isn't perfectly confidential as actual humans might be reading the emails you send and receive.

Two of its artificial-intelligence engineers signed agreements not to share anything they read, [CEO Mikael] Berner says. In other words: if you grant a company access to your email data, it may be that human employees read it. "We have since stopped this practice and expunged all such data in order to stay consistent with our company's commitment to achieving the highest standards possible for ensuring privacy".

Gmail has about 1.4 billion users while Microsoft and Oath, the group formed after Verizon bough Yahoo!, are the next two biggest email providers.

Using a service like Gmail puts you at the mercy of companies like Google.

Google is allowing app developers to sift through your Gmail account.

It's obvious what Google apps are - things like Chrome and Drive.

You may need to research each individual program or service to make an educated decision.

If any apps give you the creeps about what kind of data it can pilfer from you, you can simply click on "Remove access" to banish it into the digital trash bin.

Ostensibly, Google only allows vetted third-party developers to request such permissions, and the intention of these companies is to use this information for targeted shopping suggestions and advertising, but the concern remains over how closely these companies are monitored once they've been granted access.

"Overall there should be no surprises for Google users: hidden features, services, or actions that are inconsistent with the marketed objective of your application may lead Google to suspend [access]".