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Google to Delete Inactive Accounts including Gmail, YouTube, Photos

Google to Delete Inactive Accounts including Gmail, YouTube, Photos

Online sellers, take note: Google is going to start deleting inactive accounts. That means those with multiple Google accounts who aren’t in the habit of visiting their secondary accounts very often could lose some of their data. According to an announcement on Tuesday:

“Starting later this year, if a Google Account has not been used or signed into for at least 2 years, we may delete the account and its contents – including content within Google Workspace (Gmail, Docs, Drive, Meet, Calendar), YouTube and Google Photos.”

Sellers may use one account (or more) for selling and another for personal. While Google said the new policy won’t impact “organizations like schools or businesses,” it may not recognize that a seller’s account is a business account, especially for small sellers.

The reason for the policy change: Google said if an account hasn’t been used for an extended period of time, it is more likely to be compromised:

“Our internal analysis shows abandoned accounts are at least 10x less likely than active accounts to have 2-step-verification set up. Meaning, these accounts are often vulnerable, and once an account is compromised, it can be used for anything from identity theft to a vector for unwanted or even malicious content, like spam.”

The policy takes effect today, but Google said the earliest it will begin deleting accounts is December 2023.

While watching a YouTube video every two years (while signed in) should keep your account safe, there’s a caveat:

“As previously announced, you will need to specifically sign in to Google Photos every 2 years to be considered active which will ensure your photos and other content are not deleted.”

Read the full details on the Google blog.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.

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