Heads Up, Google Is About to Start Deleting All of Your Old Files

google old account delete

If you have an old Google account that you haven’t logged into in a while, you may want to check it. Google has announced that it will soon start to delete old accounts and all of their data with it.

The US tech giant’s purge of old accounts will start on December 1. From that date, content associated with accounts will start to vanish. This includes Gmail account data, emails, Google Photos, Google Docs, Google Drive files, Google Meet, and Google Callendar data.

The move is being made over privacy concerns, with Google’s Vice President of Product Management, Ruth Kricheli, announcing in May that the changes would be happening.

“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,” she said in a post in May.

“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.

Forgotten accounts often use old or re-used passwords, Kricheli explained, noting that the lack of security checks is what makes them an easy access point for cybercriminals to gain entry to your personal data.

The policy will only apply to personal Google accounts – school or work accounts won’t be affected.

The company has stated that the deletion process will be rolling out from the start of next month, with the oldest and least active accounts headed for the great recycling bin in the cloud first. Users have been given several months of warnings that their accounts will be deactivated before the big red button is pressed.

Cybersecurity is a big and growing issue across the world. Australia is no exception, with a number of high-profile and devastating hacks committed against some of the biggest national businesses.

Google’s most recent cybersecurity forecast suggests that next year will see an increase in cyber attacks aided by the growing sophistication of generative artificial intelligence. The company has written that AI technology will be used to create ever more convincing phishing attacks, with voice, text, and video replication technology making scams harder to distinguish.

How to Stop Google Deleting Your Data

Thankfully, keeping your Google account active is not difficult. The company only require you to sign in once every two years before they will start to remove it. This means if you’ve used any Google services while logged into an account since 2021, your account will be safe.

The company has stated that anyone concerned about losing access to their online data should log in to Gmail and read or send an email. They could also open a document in Google Drive, watch a YouTube video, download an app on the Google Play store, or use Google Search.

If you’ve somehow managed to avoid doing any of those things while logged into your Google account in the past 24 months, perhaps the importance of whatever you have stored with Google isn’t of major importance.

Related: Microsoft Is Spending $5 Billion in Australia to Build an AI ‘Cyber Shield’

Related: Diving Into Albanese’s New Cyber Security Agency

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