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A Google account allows Internet users to access Google services, such as: Google Drive, Blogger and many other services. However, Gmail accounts can also be used on third-party sites and serve as a means of authentication for them.

According to the figures recorded in 2020, Gmail users alone reached 1.8 billion. To optimize its storage, Google has decided to delete user accounts that have not been active for years.

This removal will affect the content of Google Workspace, they announced on May 16, 2023. Besides, organizations and businesses will not have to worry.

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Google will start deleting Google Accounts in late 2023

As clarified by the tech giant, the new policy only applies to personal accounts. Thus, schools, businesses or organizations will be able to keep their Google accounts, even if they have not been used for more than two years.

In the blog post that Google published on May 16, 2023, they state that deletion of inactive accounts will begin in December 2023. Those who have not used their account for a while are notified. Their accounts will definitely disappear.

For this reason, Google Workspace content linked to these Google accounts will also be deleted. This concerns content in Gmail, Google Drive, Google Docs, Google Photos, Meet or Google Calendar.

Before the permanent deletion, however, users are notified by notifications.

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Inactive Google accounts will be deleted
Google website homepage – Photo credits: iStock

Pay attention to Google notifications

As reported in an article from the site, Google will operate “slowly and carefully”. In his “phased approach”the American giant will thus notify owners of inactive accounts months before deletion of the inactive Google account.

Notifications will come to the account email address as well as the backup email address. In case the user does not react, his inactive account will be deleted automatically.

To know if an account is active or not, Google checks if:

  • Basic actions have been performed: reading or sending an e-mail.
  • Actions have been taken on Google Drive.
  • Downloads have been made on the Google Play Store.

If you no longer have access or if you have forgotten the authentications of your old account, it is possible to recover the Google account.

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How do I recover a Google account?

Definitely, users may have forgotten his ID and will not be able to reopen their old accounts. In the event that reopening is necessary, here are the steps to follow if you have forgotten your password:

  • Press “Forgot password”.
  • Follow instructions and answer verification questions.
  • Then reset the password and access your account.

In case it is your email address or username that you forgot, here are the tips offered in “Google Account Help”:

  • Provide a Google Account recovery phone number or email address.
  • Follow the confirmation instructions.
  • Choose from the list of usernames displayed by Google.

If Google decided to eradicate inactive accounts, it is mainly because they have a high level of vulnerability.

Forgotten or unattended accounts are highly vulnerable to phishing

In addition to storage optimization, if Google has decided to delete inactive Google accounts, it is mainly for security reasons. Indeed, as Actu explained, active accounts “would be ten times less likely” to have two-step verification set up.

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Accounts that have very old passwords are more at risk of phishing. Hackers can indeed use them to steal identities, spam or even to scam, the site said.

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