Google to delete inactive accounts after 2 years

Google debunks Gmail shutdown rumour

Google, the Alphabet Inc-owned global technology company, has said it will begin deleting accounts that have been inactive for two years. According to an email, Google said this updated policy becomes official today. 

Any account that fits the “inactive” description will qualify for deletion as of December 1, 2023. Aside from the account, the content it carries will also be erased. The company said it’s doing this to protect users’ information even when they stop using its many services. A Google account provides the owner access to products like Gmail, YouTube, Drive, Docs, and more. 

Google defines inactive accounts as those that haven’t been used or signed into for two years. The company also shared some insights into what it considers “active” accounts to be. Reading/sending an email, using Google Drive, watching YouTube videos, sharing a photo, downloading an app, and using its search engine are among some of the actions Google expects from active accounts. 

The company further stated that it recognizes activity based on account and not the device. That means if an account is signed into on multiple devices, performing any of the above actions would keep it from deletion. 

It’s worth noting that there are some exceptions to this policy. Knowing what they are will greatly benefit those who aren’t quite clear on whether their inactive account is eligible for eventual deletion. 

If a user’s account was used to pay for a Google product, service, in-app purchase, or ongoing subscription, it’s still regarded as active. If the account is linked to a gift card containing money,  it won’t be deleted even if the user has not signed into it for two years. 

Google account deletion

If the account is linked to a published game or application on PlayStore with ongoing active subscriptions or active dealings, it will be retained. Users whose accounts supervise active minor accounts through Google Family Link won’t have their accounts deleted. And finally, those whose accounts have been used to buy digital products like books or movies won’t be affected by this policy. 

Read also: Google and Verve collaborate to allow Nigerians to pay with Naira cards on Play Store

Google to notify inactive account holders beforehand 

Although the policy begins today, the company said the deletion of inactive accounts will commence from December 1, 2023. Before then, it added that it would enable users to take necessary action. 

It intends to do so by emailing reminders to the said account. If the account has a recovery email, Google said it would send notifications there too. It doesn’t state the number of times it would send the reminders. 

Meanwhile, users should note that they can delete their accounts at any time. If the deletion was an error, there’s an option for recovering the account. They can also download and export the data contained in products like Photos and YouTube. During periods of extended inactivity like prison sentences and religious pilgrimage, Google allows users to temporarily suspend their accounts. 

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