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Unused Gmail accounts head to the chopping block

Unused Gmail accounts head to the chopping block

Google is about to go on a purge for security purposes — save your old account by signing in by December 1.

Credit: Supplied

It’s the last call to keep any Gmail accounts you haven’t used recently.

Beginning December 1, Google will start deleting accounts that have been inactive for two years, including all associated photos, Drive documents, contacts, emails, and calendar entries. The tech giant first announced this change in their inactivity policy in May.

Google confirmed to Computerworld that it’s proceeding with the deletion plan. “We plan to roll this out slowly and in phases, not all at once,” spokesperson Christa Muldoon said. “We'll be starting with accounts that were created and never used.”

Separate Gmail accounts held by the same user under different names are also subject to deletion, Muldoon said.

In a blog post, Google said they're removing accounts that haven't been used in a while because these accounts can be less secure. The old accounts might have previously used passwords or no extra security steps like two-factor authentication. The first accounts to go will be ones that someone created but never used again.

If you don't want your Google account deleted, log in and use something like Google Drive, Google Photos, Gmail, or Google Play. You can do simple things like send an email, download an app, search on Google, or watch a YouTube video to show you're still using the account. Your account won't be deleted if you have a Google One subscription or other active app subscriptions.

Google will warn people several times before they delete their accounts. This notice allows you to save your stuff using Google's Takeout service or other places to save files like Dropbox or Microsoft OneDrive. Google’s Inactive Account Manager allows users to choose what happens to their account and data if it becomes inactive for up to 18 months. When signing up, users can opt to send specific files to chosen trusted contacts, set up an autoresponder in Gmail, or decide to delete their account altogether.

If you have an old Google account and can't recall the details, there's a way to recover it. Forgot your password? Use Google's password recovery tool. You'll have to answer a few questions to confirm you own the account. Can't remember the email address? Google's account recovery tool can help. You'll need the phone number or a recovery email linked to the account. Tips and links to account recovery resources can be found on the Google Account Help web page.

Google's recent changes to its inactivity policy will affect only personal account holders, not users with school or business accounts.

Gmail user David Ciccarelli said that Google has provided sufficient notice to users whose accounts are at risk of deletion, giving them an opportunity to reactivate their accounts.

“I have two personal accounts, one of which I haven't used in years and is likely to be deleted, while the other is connected to several services that I use daily,” he said. in an interview.  “Honestly, I only need one personal email account, so I am not concerned about the possibility of losing the unused account.”


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