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Google will start deleting inactive accounts; here’s how to keep them active

In a bold move to bolster security and safeguard user data, Google has announced plans to delete inactive accounts starting this December 2023. The company aims to protect users from potential security threats by removing accounts that haven’t been logged into for a period of two years.

Google VP for Product Management, Ruth Kricheli, made the announcement on May 16, 2023, highlighting the company’s commitment to ensuring the safety and privacy of its users. This initiative comes in response to the rising concerns surrounding account hijacking, spam, and phishing scams.

Inactive accounts pose a significant risk due to the outdated or reused passwords often associated with them. Google’s internal analysis reveals that abandoned accounts are 10 times less likely than active accounts to have two-step verification enabled. This vulnerability leaves such accounts susceptible to identity theft and can potentially be exploited to spread malicious content, including spam.

To mitigate these risks, Google will enforce an updated inactivity policy across its products. Personal Google Accounts that remain dormant or unused for a continuous period of two years may face deletion. This policy aligns with industry standards and aims to reduce the amount of unused personal information retained by Google.

It’s important to note that this policy only affects personal Google Accounts and will not impact accounts associated with organizations such as schools or businesses. The phased approach to implementation ensures users receive ample notice and multiple notifications before any deletion occurs.

To keep your Google Account active, follow these simple steps:

  • Sign in at least once every two years.
  • Engage in activities within your account, such as:
    • Reading or sending emails.
    • Using Google Drive.
    • Watching YouTube videos.
    • Downloading apps from the Google Play Store.
    • Using Google Search.
    • Signing in to third-party apps or services using your Google Account.
  • Maintain subscriptions linked to your account, like Google One or news publications.
  • Specifically sign in to Google Photos every two years to maintain account activity and prevent content deletion.
  • Ensure your recovery email is set up during the sign-up process and keep it updated in your account settings.
  • Utilize Google’s tools:
    • Take advantage of Takeout to download and export your data to other platforms.
    • Configure the Inactive Account Manager to manage your account and data if it becomes inactive for an extended period.

By following these steps, you can keep your Google Account active and enjoy a safe online experience. Remember, Google will provide multiple notifications before taking any action, allowing you to keep your account active.

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