Google to Begin Deleting Inactive Accounts From December 1

Google is set to commence the deletion of inactive accounts this week, starting on December 1, 2023. The company had announced this policy in May, citing security concerns associated with older accounts. Accounts that have been dormant for at least two years are now at risk of being erased in a phased approach.

Google to Begin Deleting Inactive Accounts From December 1

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Google’s decision to delete inactive accounts is because of cybersecurity concerns. According to internal findings, older accounts are more likely to use recycled passwords and lack up-to-date security measures like two-step verification.

This makes them vulnerable to various security threats, and this can lead to issues such as identity theft and the dissemination of malicious content.

Oren Koren Chief Product Officer and Co-founder of cybersecurity firm Veriti, said the importance of deleting old accounts as a step to enhance overall digital security.

Old accounts are often perceived as low-risk targets, providing openings for malicious actors. Deleting these accounts not only requires hackers to create new accounts but also eliminates older data that may have been exposed in previous data breaches.

Google has been in notifying affected users since August, sending multiple alerts to both the impacted accounts and user-provided backup emails.

The approach begins with the deletion of accounts that were created but never revisited by users. This approach aligns with Google’s commitment to protecting users’ private information and preventing unauthorized access to accounts, even if the services are no longer actively used.

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Accounts with active YouTube channels, remaining balances on gift cards, those used for digital purchases, and those with published apps active on platforms like the Google Play store are spared from the purge. These exceptions recognize the ongoing relevance associated with certain accounts.

Google sets a departure from its previous policy in 2020, where the company stated that users’ content would be wiped from services they had stopped using, but the accounts themselves would not be deleted.

The decision to delete inactive accounts demonstrates the commitment to cybersecurity and an approach to strengthen digital security.

To safeguard your Google account from deletion, it’s important to log in at least once every two years. This simple action, whether it involves reading an email, watching a video, or performing a search, signals to Google that the account is active.

By taking this step, users can prevent the deletion of their accounts and the loss of associated content across various Google services, including Gmail, Docs, Drive, and Photos.

Preserving content on Google Photos requires specific sign-ins, and users are encouraged to access the application periodically to prevent the deletion of images after two years of inactivity.

Additionally, Google provides tools such as Google Takeout, allowing users to download and export their account data outside of the Google ecosystem.

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The Inactive Account Manager feature enables users to choose what happens to their account and data in case of inactivity, providing options to send files to trusted contacts or delete the account entirely.

Google has been communicating the impending deletion to affected users through multiple notifications sent to the associated email addresses and recovery emails.

The company’s commitment to transparency ensures that users are well-informed about the impact on their accounts well in advance of the deletion.

If you’ve received notifications about your account being at risk, taking action is important. Signing in and using Google services such as Gmail, Docs, and Drive will signal to Google that your account is active.

Additional actions, such as watching YouTube videos, downloading apps from the Google Play store, and engaging in Google searches, also contribute to maintaining account activity.

Google understands the need for users to preserve their data. Exceptions to the deletion policy include personal Google accounts used for organizations, accounts managing active minor accounts, and those with ongoing subscriptions or purchases.

Beyond account activity, Google provides tools like Google Takeout, allowing users to download and export their data outside of Google.

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