Monday, September 26, 2016

Why no, Tableau, I don't want you reading my mail.

I was excited about being able to use Tableau with my Google sheets' data. The ability to connect directly to them with Tableau 10 was really appealing.

My enthusiasm dissipated quickly when this showed up:

Really, Tableau?
You want to view my email address and basic profile info?

What possible reason could there be for needing this information to establish a connection to my Google sheets? I can't think of a single one.

Whose idea was this?

Frankly, the whole thing is offensive, and I'm very put out.


  1. Hi Chris,

    Your email address is probably needed to store your authentication information (store username and token to enable refreshing your data. The 'basic profile info' gives Tableau your 'real' name and profile photo.

    None of this information is sent to Tableau; it is read by Tableau Desktop, not a cloud-service run by Tableau.

    1. Well, since I've already entered my authentication information in order to initiate the connection there's no need for anything else from my email account.

      And I see no reason why Tableau should need my 'real' name, other than the one I used to register my Tableau license with 10 years ago (and haven't changed). Nor is there any reason why my photo is necessary.

      Tableau doesn't ask for these things in connecting to other data sources, nor to Tableau Server. So I'm drawn towards the conclusion that Tableau's trying to gain something from accessing my personal information.

      To your final sentence: it's naive to assume that anything collected by Tableau Desktop isn't being sent out - Tableau communicates regularly with the licensing service, so at least that channel is open.

  2. Chris, this is not a Tableau notice. But, it's from Google who presents this screen to any third party app that wants to access google services, for example, google analytics. Seems you may change some of the settings by clicking (!).

  3. Chris - Sorry you were offended. We can't read your email, but Tableau needs your email address. Tableau doesn't see the account name you enter in the previous dialog - that goes directly to Google. We need this information for a complicated dance that occurs when you publish to Tableau Server. It's a bit hard to explain in a comment, but we need to be able to match Google credentials created for Tableau Server with Google credentials created for Tableau Desktop - and we do that by email address. The Basic Profile Info is always listed by Google, Tableau can't NOT ask for it.

  4. Great information,we had more info on Tableau