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Google will delete old Gmail and YouTube accounts that have not been used for two years

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Do you have an old Gmail account that you haven’t used in more than two years? Maybe you should consider logging in. Google announced, on Tuesday, that it is changing its policy on “inactive” accounts and that it may delete Gmail, YouTube and Google Photos accounts that have not been used for at least two years, starting from the end of the year 2023.

“Starting this year, if a Google Account hasn’t been used or signed in for at least two years, we can delete the account and its contents, including Google Workspace content (Gmail, Docs, Drive, Meet, Calendar) and YouTube,” said Ruth Crichelli, vice president of management. Products at Google, Google Images, in a statement posted online Tuesday.

Ruth Crichelli clarified that this new policy only applies to personal accounts and will not apply to business accounts. Google account deletion processes will begin in December 2023, giving users just over six months to sign into their accounts if they want to keep them.

Why does Google do this? This action is part of the security enhancement. Inactive accounts are less likely to be subject to multi-factor authentication, a tool that was widely publicized a decade ago and offers significant protection against hackers.

“Our internal analysis shows that two-step verification is ten times less likely for abandoned accounts than active accounts. This means that these accounts are often vulnerable and once an account is compromised, it can be used for a variety of purposes, from identity theft to spamming or even malicious, like spam,” Ms Kricheli explained on Tuesday.

Google says it will start by deleting accounts that were created but never used, before gradually attacking other accounts. Google will also send several warnings about deleting the account, which people who deleted the account probably won’t see completely. But the tech giant will also send a warning to the account recovery address, which is the address provided when signing up as a backup.

If you care about preserving your Google emails and Docs for years to come, now is probably the perfect time to download everything locally to back up your data. Cloud computing is great, but a local copy of your old emails can be invaluable if something goes wrong. In fact, Google is not fallible and many people have lost everything they stored in the cloud.

“You can download and export your data to other platforms through Google Takeout, which has been available for over a decade,” Kricheli wrote.

According to 9to5Mac and Google blogs, the company will not allow others to claim the names of abandoned and deleted accounts. But that’s a good thing. If an account is deleted, no one else can recover it. This account simply no longer exists. This is important because other services reallocate account names, as promised by Twitter CEO Elon Musk.

Translated article from the American magazine Forbes – Author: Matt Novak

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