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Google to delete inactive Gmail and Youtube accounts

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Just giving everyone a heads up that Google is planning on going on a purge of inactive accounts at the end of the year...


Google To Delete Old Gmail And YouTube Accounts Not Used In Two Years
by Matt Novak (May 16, 2023,02:46pm EDT)


Do you have an old Gmail account that you haven’t used in more than two years? You might want to consider logging in and sending a quick email or backing up the emails locally. Google announced on Tuesday it was changing its “inactive” accounts policy, and may delete Gmail, YouTube and Google Photos accounts that haven’t been used in at least two years, beginning at the end of 2023.

“Starting later this year, if a Google Account has not been used or signed into for at least 2 years, we may delete the account and its contents—including content within Google Workspace (Gmail, Docs, Drive, Meet, Calendar), YouTube and Google Photos,” Ruth Kricheli, VP of Product Management at Google, said in an announcement published online Tuesday.

Kricheli went on to explain that this new policy only applies to personal accounts and won’t be implemented for business accounts. The Google account deletions will start in December 2023, which gives users just over six months to log in to their accounts if they’d like to keep them.

Why is Google doing this? It’s all part of a push for stricter security. Dormant accounts are less likely to have multi-factor authentication set up, a tool that was rolled out widely about a decade ago and provides significant protection against hackers.

“Our internal analysis shows abandoned accounts are at least 10x less likely than active accounts to have 2-step-verification set up. Meaning, these accounts are often vulnerable, and once an account is compromised, it can be used for anything from identity theft to a vector for unwanted or even malicious content, like spam,” Kricheli explained on Tuesday.

Google notes it will start by deleting accounts that were created but never actually used and will slowly turn to other accounts. Google will also send multiple warnings that an account will be deleted, something that likely won’t be seen by anyone who’s completely abandoned the account. But the tech giant will also send warning to the account’s recovery email, the address provided during sign-up as a back-up.

If you care about keeping your emails and Google documents for years to come, this is probably a great time to just download everything locally so you can keep your own back-up of data. The cloud is great, but having a local copy of old emails can be invaluable in the event something goes wrong. Because Google is fallible, and there are horror stories out there of people losing everything they had stored in the cloud.

“You can download and export your data to other platforms through our Takeout feature, which has been available for over a decade,” Kricheli wrote.

Google will reportedly not allow others to claim account names that have been abandoned and deleted, according to the blog 9to5Mac and confirmation I received from Google. But that’s a good thing. If the account for John.Doe@gmail.com gets deleted, it won’t be available for someone else to scoop up. That account simply doesn’t exist anymore. That’s important because some other services will reassign account names, like Twitter CEO Elon Musk has promised to do during that company’s ongoing purge of old accounts.




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