Google has already confirmed that it is going to start deleting, although liquidation might be a better term, some personal Google Accounts starting December 1st. This cleanup will include almost any content you can think of: Gmail messages, Google Photos libraries, Google Calendar all appointments and Google Docs files are affected.
Here’s everything you need to know ahead of the December deadline.
The countdown clock to deleting Google content is ticking
If the news of this move to delete inactive Google accounts comes as a complete surprise to you, the fault cannot be laid at Google’s door. In July, Google sent emails warning that these account deletions would begin in December. Those emails stated that any account deemed inactive would receive “multiple reminder emails” before any action was taken. Now you might think you’ve spotted a flaw in the logic here, as an email to an account that isn’t currently active won’t be read, but Google has that covered. Notification emails will also be sent to any recovery email address registered. The first accounts to be targeted, in December, will be those that were created but never used again since then.
Are your Gmail and photos at risk?
With over 1.8 billion Gmail users, growing to 2 billion Google Photos users, will your account be among the unverified ones affected? The good news is that, statistically speaking, it’s unlikely. This is because this cleanup, performed for security reasons according to Google, only applies to inactive personal accounts. More specifically, users who have not logged into their Google accounts for at least two years. If you’ve read or sent an email using Gmail, saved something to Google Drive, downloaded an app from the Google Play Store, added a photo to Google Photos, or even searched Google while signed in to your Google Account , your valuable content is safe. Google Business Accounts are not affected.
Inactive accounts are a compromise waiting to happen
Ruth Kricheli, Google’s vice president of product management, went on record in May to explain inactive account policy update. “If an account hasn’t been used for a long time, it’s more likely to be hacked,” Crichelli said. The rationale is that accounts that remain unused for a long period of time will not have undergone regular security checks, likely do not have two-factor authentication enabled, and may be using insecure passwords. “Our internal analysis shows that abandoned accounts are at least 10 times less likely than active accounts to have 2-step verification set up,” Kricheli said. Because statistically, these dormant accounts are more vulnerable than others, the risk of compromise increases. A compromised Google Account is like winning the lottery for threat actors, providing access to emails and documents that can be used to reset account passwords, steal identities, and generally serve as a launching pad for malicious activity.
What to do to protect Gmail and Google Photos content from deletion
As I mentioned in July, to protect your Gmail account, Google Photos content, and everything else connected to your Google Account, most people won’t need to do anything at all. If you only have one Google account and have signed in to it in any way in the past two years, you’re safe. If, on the other hand, you have multiple accounts, now is the time to check and log in to them. Make sure you do this at least once every 24 months and your account and the content behind it will also be safe from deletion. If you can’t remember your account information, all is not lost. use it Google Account Recovery Process which requires a recovery email or phone number. Use known addresses and numbers and chances are you’ll be fine. You will receive a verification code sent via email or SMS, and then when you try to log in with an incorrect password, you will have the opportunity to reset your password via the forgotten password route. Again, a code will be sent to you for verification.