If You Want to Keep Your Dusty Gmail Account, Act Now

If you haven't used an old Gmail account for two years or longer, sign in to keep it
By Steve Huff,  Newser Staff
Posted May 17, 2023 12:27 PM CDT
If You Want to Keep Your Dusty Gmail Account, Act Now
A cursor moves over Google's search engine page.   (AP Photo/Don Ryan, File)

Even a global tech behemoth like Google has to do a little housecleaning sometimes. In a blog post published Tuesday, Google VP of Product Management Ruth Kricheli announced changes to the company's inactive account policies. Kricheli said that starting in December, the company will begin deleting accounts that have "not been used or signed into for at least 2 years." Google is painting the update as one taken in the name of cybersecurity, as its "internal analysis shows abandoned accounts are at least 10x less likely than active accounts to have 2-step-verification set up." Kricheli added that unused accounts "often rely on old or re-used passwords that may have been compromised."

NPR reports that Google says it will provide ample warning by notifying account holders multiple times (via the account email address and the recovery email address, if there is one) before the deletion process begins—a process that can be stopped by the user signing in to said account. While this policy update applies to a number of Google services, including Gmail, Drive, and Photos, it's worth noting that Google One subscribers will be exempt from this policy if they maintain their subscriptions. TechCrunch points out that Google did not address one issue that might concern users—what happens to the usernames freed up by trashing unused accounts.

Kricheli's post ends by pointing out that Google has various tools to help users manage their data and account activity, such as the Inactive Account Manager, which lets users choose what happens to data after a specified period of time. Additionally, users can download their data using Google Takeout, ensuring they have a backup of essential files and information. (More Google stories.)

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