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Is Your Google Account Safe? Time to Revive Your Inactive Accounts

Google plans to start deleting inactive accounts soon. On November 26 (local time), several foreign media outlets, including Forbes, reported that Google’s plan involves deleting inactive accounts and warned users that Workspace content will also be deleted.

Who will be affected by the account deletion?


Google announced in May that it would delete accounts that users had not used or logged into for over two years. This means Google may delete accounts with no activity starting in 2021. The deletion includes the account and Gmail, documents, Drive, photos, contacts, calendar, and other Google Workspace content.

Once Google deletes an account, it cannot recover the related data. The email address used for creating the account cannot be re-registered. This policy only applies to personal accounts and does not affect business accounts created by schools or businesses.

Account deletion will start this Friday, December 1 (local time). You can confirm whether you are subject to deletion in your Gmail or recovery email. Google explained that it sent out a prior notice email in August.

Google has announced that it will gradually implement account deletion through sufficient notice. Foreign media recommend that users check in advance because they expect Google to send out additional notifications before implementing deletion measures.

Why are inactive accounts being deleted?

Google explained that inactive accounts are being deleted for security reasons. Ruth Kricheli, Vice President of Google Product Management, explained that the possibility of setting up two-factor authentication (2FA) for dormant accounts is at least ten times lower than for active accounts.

Two-factor authentication is a security measure that requires user authentication once more after logging in. It requires an additional authentication code on your smartphone every time you log in. Even with password exposure, the security remains strong because it requires direct authentication through a user’s device. If you do not set up two-factor authentication, your account is highly likely to be stolen.

IT media specialist Gizmodo explained that in addition to strengthening security, it also helps secure server capacity. This is because even if the account is inactive, the related data still occupies Google Cloud capacity.

On the other hand, there are voices opposing the deletion of accounts. Emmett Shear, the former CEO of X (then Twitter), once explained that deleting a Google account containing various content is like burning a commons.

Are there any exceptions?

YouTube videos will not disappear even if Google deletes an inactive account. This means that even if the owner of a YouTube channel has passed away and has not logged in for over two years, the videos will remain on YouTube. When questions arose last May because the policy announcement did not specify the YouTube deletion criteria, Google updated the details.

The ‘Inactive Account Manager’ feature can manage a deceased person’s account. Families or acquaintances can request Google for account closure, funds, data, etc. However, passwords or other login information are never provided.

How do you keep your Google account?

The way to keep your Google account is simple. Just activate your account at least once every two years. Google explains that logging in and reading or writing Gmail, using Google Drive, watching YouTube videos, downloading Playstore apps, searching Google, or logging into other services with your Google account counts as having an active account. The same goes for setting up paid subscriptions to Google One, news publications, and apps with your Google account.

Already implementing deletion measures

Google Families

Google Photos has deleted content from inactive accounts since June 1, 2021. The stored content will be deleted if the account is dormant for two years or exceeds the 15GB free capacity. However, the 15GB capacity is checked based on the photos or videos uploaded in the original quality. High-quality/standard-quality content uploaded before the policy was implemented is not applied.

Google explained that it usually takes three years to use up all the free capacity, and if the capacity limit is reached, it will notify in advance via the app or email.

Recently, other companies besides Google have also started to delete inactive accounts. X (formerly Twitter) started deleting dormant accounts that have not logged in for more than 30 days since last August, and game platform Ubisoft is also deleting inactive accounts with no game purchase history and has not logged in for six months.

By. Kim Ha Young

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