Google set to delete thousands of Gmail accounts
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If you have any Gmail accounts you haven't used in a while, you might have to act soon to avoid saying goodbye to them.
A new policy from Google means that millions of accounts across Gmail, Google Drive, and Google Photos could be purged.
If you're particularly fond of keeping your emails and documents in existence and are freaking out over the news, don't fret.
First of all, the policy will only affect accounts that haven't been touched for over two years - so it's more than likely going to affect the accounts you set up and forgot about, or the embarrassing email address you set up back when you were a kid.
Second of all, this account purge won't kick in until December 2023 - so if you've been logged out of a Google account that you want to save, you have about six months to figure out the password.
And thirdly, this will only apply to personal accounts. The email address you reserved for your business that you're definitely still going to get cracking on but haven't had a chance yet is totally safe.
The main reason for this new policy is pretty simple: it's to improve your cyber security.
Older, less-often used accounts are more likely to be exposed to security threats, spam, viruses, and hijacking.
Explaining the details in a recent blog post, Google said: "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.
"To reduce this risk, we are updating our inactivity policy for Google Accounts to 2 years across our products.
"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) and Google Photos."
If you're hoping to keep your account active and safe from the mass removal, there are some simple things you can do.
First of all, sign-in to your Google account at least once every two years.
Secondly, any accounts that are considered active will not be deleted, so do something simple like sending or reading an email, doing a Google search, watching a video on YouTube, or downloading an app from the Google Play Store.
Plus, if you have a subscription linked to your Google Account, like a news publication, an app, or Google One, that counts as account activity.
That means you could keep your account alive without even having to lift a finger.
Again, you have until December 2023 to get cracking on keeping your old Google Accounts alive, so no pressure.
Google also assured customers that: "Before deleting an account, we will send multiple notifications over the months leading up to deletion, to both the account email address and the recovery email (if one has been provided)."
So both you and your account can rest easy.
Topics: News, Google, Technology