Google will begin deleting Gmail accounts soon
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Google is about to start deleting some Gmail accounts, but how do you make sure yours is safe?
It's the OG email service many of us have been using since our parents first allowed us to create an account and while I couldn't give a monkeys about my 11-year-old self's account being binned - the email inspired by my love of dogs - I would prefer if I could keep my hands on my latest Gmail.
If you're the sort of person who's fine with having hundreds of red notification dots on your smartphone apps and haven't checked your emails in a while, then you may want to check if your account could be at risk.
Google's Vice President of Product Management Ruth Kricheli first revealed the move in a post to Google's The Keyword website earlier this year.
The post reads: "We are updating our inactivity policy for Google Accounts to two years across our products. Starting later this year, if a Google Account has not been used or signed into for at least two years, we may delete the account and its contents - including content within Google Workspace (Gmail, Docs, Drive, Meet, Calendar) and Google Photos.
"[...] The policy only applies to personal Google Accounts, and will not affect accounts for organizations like schools or businesses."
So, when do you need to use your Google Account by to make sure you keep hold of it?
Well, Google will begin deleting inactive accounts from 1 December, 2023, so your 16-day countdown is officially on.
Although, don't panic, because if your account is at risk of being deleted, you should've received 'multiple notifications' in the last few months to 'both [your] account email address and the recovery email' to remind you to get active.
And you can make sure Google knows your account is active in a whole manner of ways, the 'simplest' being signing in 'at least once every two years', Google says.
Or, you can read or send an email, use Google Drive, watch a YouTube video, download an app on the Google Play Store, use Google Search or sign in with Google to sign in to a third-party app, it adds.
It's important to note you'll have to sign into Google Photos separately to save your images from being deleted.
But why is Google deleting inactive accounts in the first place?
The tech company explains if an account 'hasn't been used for an extended period of time', it's 'more likely to be compromised'.
This can be a result of more inactive accounts often using 'old or re-used passwords', as well as being less likely to have two-factor authentication set up.
Kricheli explains: "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."
The new update also makes sure Google is up to 'industry standards around retention and account deletion and also limits the amount of time Google retains your unused personal information'.