Finally! I met an app permission I can't say yes to.

I say "yes" a lot - not to everything, but certainly to app permission dialogs.

This is somewhat unusual - not amongst most people - but definitely amongst most people I've generally worked with.

I've always been pretty comfortable knowing that sometimes the only way to get value from an app is the share information about me. Sometimes the information is used to make things better for me, but often its just to get me to come back (permission to see my email) or others (permission to see my friends when its not really needed for the app). C'est la vie..

Now as products try to do more sophisticated things for you, they naturally need to know more about you. It turns out the line in the sand for me is being able to read my email. Over the last few months, I've been excited to try 3 app and but stopped just short of installing because the only way for me to use them would've been to let them see my email.

In these 3 cases, I actually knew people that were working at these companies, all of them were startups, and something about the fact that someone I knew had the theoretical ability to read through my Inbox made me just uncomfortable enough to hit the 'X' and not try the app.

I suspect I'm not going to be the only person where this is the line, and that adding that one extra permission is causing a significant drop in install rates. Also, while I didn't have as strong feelings about text messaging a couple of years ago, I do now as I've been using messaging apps much more the past year and probably would treat that permission the same way...

So what'll happen next? It's hard to say exactly.

The app permission situation got a lot better because the platforms (Facebook, Apple, Android etc.) changed the permissions rules and did some really interesting things to let people who cared be more selective about what they granted app developers and in general developers responded well to that.

We'll likely see a variation of that for communications permissions - but the design for that is going to be a lot tricker.

We live in interesting times...


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