Google to Delete Inactive Accounts on Dec. 1st

By: Nick Gambino

Most of us have multiple email accounts, some spread across various email services like Outlook, Gmail and Yahoo. We may even forget some of them, but unless you’ve deleted the accounts, they still exist…for now.

Starting December 1st, Google will begin deleting inactive accounts and all of their emails, documents, images and anything else associated with them. Why are they sniping out our unused accounts even though they are technically our accounts? My first thought was they’re freeing up server space that’s being cluttered up for no good reason, but Google is offering up a different reason.

“If an account hasn’t been used for an extended period of time, it is more likely to be compromised,” Ruth Kricheli, the Vice President of Product Management at Google said in a blog post. “This is because forgotten or unattended accounts often rely on old or re-used passwords that may have been compromised, haven’t had two-factor authentication set up, and receive fewer security checks by the user.”

Apparently, according to their own investigation, Google has found that these inactive accounts are ten times less likely to employ two-factor authentication which is a relatively new security protection offered by most of the top tech companies.

So what constitutes an inactive account? If you haven’t touched that account for two years it will be considered inactive and will be deleted on or after December 1st 2023. This will be the new policy going forward.

If you don’t want your account to be deleted all you need to do is log in and it will restart the two-year inactive deletion countdown. So if you want to keep it around but don’t want to use it, sign in and set an alarm to do that again in 1 year, 11 months and 29 days.

Now, just because you have an inactive account doesn’t mean it’s going to be deleted this Friday. They’re going to roll this out slowly and will be sending plenty of advanced notice, presumably to the account you’re not looking at, but still, it counts. Hopefully you have a separate recovery email listed.

This new policy only applies to individual personal accounts not student or business accounts.


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