Google to Delete Inactive Accounts Starting December

Google enhances user security with a new inactivity policy. Unused accounts may be deleted after 2 years for improved data safety.

Delete Google Accounts
In the digital age where online safety is of paramount importance, Google has once again emphasized its commitment to protecting users from security threats such as spam, phishing scams, and account hijacking. 

The search giant announced a change to the company's inactive account policy today, stating that customers who have not used their accounts for 2 years may have their accounts deleted automatically by the company from December 2023 onward.

In the blog post, Google noted, accounts that have been dormant for a considerable period are susceptible to breaches. Forgotten or neglected accounts usually depend on outdated or reused passwords and lack two-factor authentication. 

According to Google, accounts that are not protected with two-factor authentication carry up to ten times the risk of abuse.

Google plans to identify inactive user accounts starting this year. The company plans to inform the account owners about the idle status of their accounts, provided that these have not been used for at least 2 years.

Google's New Inactivity Policy

To counteract these risks, Google is revising its inactivity policy for Google Accounts to a two-year timeframe across its range of products. From later this year, if a Google Account remains unused or unsigned for at least two years, Google reserves the right to delete the account and all its contents, including data within Google Workspace, YouTube, and Google Photos.

Google mentioned that this policy applies only to personal Google Accounts and will not impact accounts belonging to organizations such as schools or businesses. 

The policy is effective immediately, but it won't immediately affect users with inactive accounts. The earliest account deletion will start in December 2023.

Keeping Your Account Active

To keep a Google Account active, users simply need to sign in at least once every two years. Any recent sign-in to the Google Account or any related services will deem the account active and safe from deletion. Actions considered as activities include - 

  • Reading or sending an email
  • Using Google Drive
  • Watching a YouTube video
  • Downloading an app on the Google Play Store
  • Using Google Search
  • Using Sign in with Google to sign in to a third-party app or service

However, Subscriptions set up through the Google Account, like Google One or a news publication, will also be counted as activity.

Google Photos Usage and Backup Plan

Users will need to sign in to Google Photos every two years specifically to keep their photos and other content safe from deletion.

Google encourages users to provide a recovery email at sign-up and ensure it's current in the account settings. It also offers a range of free tools to manage accounts and create data backups. Options include downloading and exporting data to other platforms via the Takeout feature and using the Inactive Account Manager to decide the fate of their account and data after 18 months of inactivity.

This update reflects Google's ongoing efforts to enhance account security and reaffirms its commitment to keeping user information private. 

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