Hey there! I have some important news for you, especially if you have an old Gmail account that you haven’t used in a while. It’s time to take action and safeguard your data. Google recently announced changes to its “inactive” accounts policy, stating that it may delete Gmail, YouTube, and Google Photos accounts that have been dormant for at least two years. This change will come into effect at the end of 2023.
Ruth Kricheli, VP of Product Management at Google, explained in an online announcement that if a Google Account remains unused or unaccessed for two years, it may be deleted along with its contents, including Google Workspace (Gmail, Docs, Drive, Meet, Calendar), YouTube, and Google Photos.
It’s important to note that this policy applies only to personal accounts and will not affect business accounts. The deletions are scheduled to commence in December 2023, giving users a little over six months to log in and retain their accounts.
So, why is Google implementing this change? It’s primarily aimed at bolstering security measures. Dormant accounts are more vulnerable because they are less likely to have two-factor authentication (2FA) enabled. 2FA is a powerful tool that provides substantial protection against hackers and has been widely available for about a decade.
According to Kricheli, Google’s internal analysis reveals that abandoned accounts are at least 10 times less likely than active accounts to have 2FA set up. This vulnerability means that compromised accounts can be misused for various purposes, including identity theft and the dissemination of unwanted or malicious content like spam.
To ensure transparency and provide users with opportunities to act, Google will send multiple warnings before deleting an account. However, keep in mind that these warnings might go unnoticed if you’ve completely abandoned the account. Nevertheless, Google will also send notifications to the account’s recovery email, the address provided during sign-up as a backup.
If you value the long-term preservation of your emails and Google documents, now is the ideal time to download and create local backups of your data. While the cloud is convenient, having a personal copy of your old emails can be invaluable in case of any unforeseen mishaps. Remember, even Google is not infallible, and there have been horror stories of people losing everything stored in the cloud.
Kricheli emphasizes that you can download and export your data to other platforms using Google’s Takeout feature, which has been available for over a decade. This way, you can retain control and ensure the safety of your information.
It’s worth noting that Google will not allow others to claim and reuse the names of deleted accounts, as confirmed by reliable sources. This is a positive aspect because it prevents someone else from taking over an abandoned account. If, for example, the account [email protected] is deleted, it won’t be available for anyone else to acquire. It simply ceases to exist. Other services, like Twitter, may reassign account names, but that won’t be the case here.
So, if you have an old Gmail account collecting dust, it’s time to log in, send an email, or download your data. Take control of your digital footprint and ensure the preservation of your precious information. Stay proactive and protect what matters to you!
Remember, your Gmail account is at stake, and action is needed to keep it safe.