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Google to delete inactive accounts from December 1; How to protect your account
Google's new policy to delete millions of inactive accounts, including Gmail, Docs, Drive, Meet, Calendar, YouTube, and Google Photos, will take effect starting December 1, 2023. This measure aims to improve users' security by deleting accounts most susceptible to compromise.
Earlier this year, Google announced an update to its inactive account policies. Under the new policy, Google said it will delete accounts that have not been used or logged in for at least two years. This decision is part of Google's ongoing efforts to protect user security and reduce the risks of maintaining inactive accounts.
In a blog post from May 2023, Google announced that its new inactive accounts policy will go into effect on December 1, 2023. All content in inactive accounts will be deleted, including Gmail, Docs, Drive, Meet, Calendar, YouTube, and Google Photos. This policy marked a significant change from Google's previous announcement in 2020 when it stated that it would only delete content from inactive accounts without deleting them.
Google to delete inactive Gmail accounts
Google is removing its inactive accounts to protect users from security threats. The company says inactive accounts are more susceptible to compromise because they are not in use or actively monitored, and users are more likely to use old or reused passwords. "Even with these protections (security tools offered by Google), if an account hasn't been used for an extended period, it is more likely to be compromised," Google states on its blog.
Google's internal analysis indicates that inactive accounts are ten times less likely than active accounts to have two-factor authentication enabled, making them easy targets for hackers. This vulnerability arises because forgotten or neglected accounts often rely on old or reused passwords that may have been compromised. These accounts often lack two-factor authentication settings and receive fewer security controls from the user. This situation can lead to cybercrimes such as identity theft and even transform these abandoned accounts into tools for more malicious activities.
How to protect your account
To protect your Google Account from deletion, you should note that the new policy only applies to personal Google accounts, not accounts associated with organizations like schools or businesses. The policy will go into effect in December 2023, but active Gmail, Docs, Calendar, and Photos users need not worry as it only targets inactive accounts. Additionally, before deleting any account, Google will send multiple notifications to the account email address and recovery email (if provided) over several months, demonstrating Google's commitment to protecting the privacy and security of its broad user base.
If your Google account has been inactive for a long time, it's a good idea to take steps to keep it active. To reactivate an inactive Google account, you can sign in or follow the instructions in the email from Google. Google has also listed specific things you can do to keep your account active, such as reading or sending an email, using Google Drive, watching a YouTube video, downloading an app from the Google Play Store, searching on Google, or using 'Sign In' . with Google' for third-party applications or services.
Additionally, Google will consider active subscriptions linked to a Google Account, such as Google One, a news publication, or an app, as account activity, preventing such accounts from being deleted.