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Google set to begin purging inactive accounts

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

Google has announced that it will start deleting accounts deemed inactive for at least two years, beginning Friday. This policy update, initially announced in May, aims to enhance security by removing accounts that are more susceptible to being compromised. Google has identified that these inactive accounts often have outdated passwords, lack two-factor authentication, and are subject to fewer security checks, making them potential targets for spam, malicious content, and identity theft.

To prevent an account from being deleted, users are advised to sign in at least once every two years. Account activity can also be maintained by engaging with various Google services while logged in, such as sending or browsing emails, using Google Search, watching YouTube videos, or maintaining active subscriptions through the account. Additionally, Google Photos users need to sign in specifically to this service to avoid deletion of their photos after two years of inactivity.

The policy primarily affects personal Google accounts; organizational accounts for schools or companies are exempt. Other exceptions include accounts managing active minor accounts, those with gift card balances, or those used for ongoing Google purchases, apps, or subscriptions. As of May, Google had no plans to delete accounts containing YouTube videos, but this is subject to confirmation. Google provides tools like Google Takeout for data export and its Inactive Account Manager for setting preferences on inactive accounts. Users are encouraged to keep their recovery email updated to receive important communications from Google, including notices about potentially inactive accounts.

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