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Google's reluctance to add privacy labels to Gmail, other apps might put users at risk [u]

Google has taken so long to update its popular Gmail app for iOS that a new in-app warning informs users that the title is "out of date" and does not include the latest security features.

The search giant in early January said it would update its entire iOS app suite with new Apple-mandated privacy "nutrition" labels, but many titles under the company's umbrella have yet to be revised.

As noted by MacRumors, Gmail is now warning users that the app does not include built-in safeguards and cautions against its use. The app was last updated more than two months ago on Dec. 1.

"You should update this app. The version you're using doesn't include the latest security features to keep you protected. Only continue if you understand this," the pop-up reads.

The alert appears upon initial setup or when adding a new account, and users who are already signed in will not see the message.

Google's delayed action is thought to be in response to Apple's new privacy label feature that rolled out in December. Dubbed privacy "nutrition labels," the program is designed to supply users with new levels of app transparency by requiring developers to provide insight into how their apps leverage user data.

For example, developers must divulge what data is being collected by either itself or a third party, and how that information might be used. Similar to past App Store policies, apps are allowed to remain on the storefront without publishing the privacy labels, though the new rules will be enforced when updates are submitted.

Previous reports suggested Google would delay rollout of future updates to avoid exposure of its data collection strategies, but the search giant denied those allegations. A spokesperson for the company in January said it is not fighting Apple's policy and plans to publish updates with privacy labels "soon."

While Google has added the required information to some of its apps, like YouTube, others including Gmail, Google Photos and Google Maps have been left untouched for months.

Update: Google appears to have updated its Gmail backend to remove the warning as it no longer appears when configuring a new account.