Google to Commence Purge of Inactive Accounts: What You Need to Know
In a significant step towards bolstering security measures and streamlining user data, Google is set to initiate the deletion of inactive accounts that have remained dormant for at least two years. Announced in May, the company plans to enforce this policy from December 1, 2023, in a phased approach starting with accounts created but never utilized. In this article, we delve into the complexity of Google’s inactive account policy, the rationale behind it, and proactive measures users can take to safeguard their accounts.
Addressing Security Concerns
The primary impetus behind Google’s decision to purge inactive accounts lies in security concerns. The company underscores that accounts left untouched for extended periods are more susceptible to compromise. “Forgotten or unattended accounts” often feature outdated or reused passwords, lack two-factor authentication, and undergo fewer security checks, rendering them attractive targets for malicious activities such as spam, identity theft, and other security breaches.
Taking Proactive Measures
Ensuring the preservation of a Google account hinges on engaging in account activity at least once every two years. Simple actions such as signing in, sending or scrolling through emails, utilizing Google services like search, watching YouTube videos, or leveraging Google Drive contribute significantly to maintaining account security.
Concerns about potential content loss on Google Photos can be alleviated through a specific sign-in requirement. Google asserts its right to delete data in a product if the user remains inactive for two years, a policy established in 2020. However, it’s crucial to note that accounts featuring YouTube videos and active subscriptions will not face deletion.
Exceptions to the Policy
The policy exclusively targets personal Google accounts inactive for two years or more. Accounts affiliated with organizations, including schools or companies, will remain unaffected. Additional exceptions include accounts managing active minor accounts, those holding gift card balances, and accounts involved in ongoing purchases of Google products, apps, or subscriptions.
Preserving Data and Leveraging Tools
Beyond sustaining regular account activity, users can harness tools such as Google Takeout to download and export account data outside of Google at their convenience. The Inactive Account Manager allows users to dictate the fate of their account and data during periods of inactivity, offering choices like sending select files to trusted contacts or deleting the account outright. Google also encourages users to update their recovery email addresses for timely notifications about account inactivity and other crucial communications.
As Google gears up to purge inactive accounts, users are urged to take proactive measures to prevent the loss of valuable data. Regular account activity and an understanding of specific service requirements, such as Google Photos, are pivotal in safeguarding personal information. Additionally, users can explore the array of tools provided by Google to manage and back up their data, ensuring a seamless transition in the ever-evolving landscape of account security policies.
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Kricheli, Ruth. “Updating Our Inactive Account Policies.” Google Blog, 16 May 2023, https://blog.google/technology/safety-security/updating-our-inactive-account-policies/. Accessed 28 Nov. 2023.