Mon. May 20th, 2024

Gmail And Photos Content Deletions Will Start December 1, Google Says

Gmail And Photos Content Deletions Will Start December 1, Google Says

Google has already confirmed that it is to start deleting, although purging might be a better term, certain personal Google accounts from December 1. This purge will include pretty much all the content you can think of: Gmail messages, Google Photos libraries, Google Calendar appointments, and Google Docs archives are all impacted.

Here’s everything you need to know ahead of the December deadline.

11/13 updates below. This article was originally published on November 11.

Google Content Deletion Countdown Clock Is Ticking

If news of this move to delete inactive Google accounts comes as a complete surprise to you, the fault cannot be laid at Google’s door. Back in July, Google sent emails warning that these account deletions would start in December. Those emails stated that any account that is considered to be inactive will receive “several reminder emails” before any action is taken. Now you may think you’ve spotted a flaw in the logic here, as an email to an account that isn’t currently active won’t be read, but Google has that covered. Notification emails will also be sent to any recovery email address on record. The first accounts to be targeted in December will be those that were created but never actually used again since.

Are Your Gmail And Photos At Risk?

With more than 1.8 billion Gmail users, rising to 2 billion as far as Google Photos users are concerned, will your account be among the unconfirmed number to be affected? The good news is that, statistically speaking, it’s unlikely. That’s because this purge, undertaken for security reasons according to Google, only applies to inactive personal accounts. More specifically, users who have not signed into their Google accounts for at least two years. If you’ve read or sent an email using Gmail, stored something in Google Drive, downloaded an app from the Google Play Store, added a photo to Google Photos, or even performed a Google search while logged into your Google account, your precious content is safe. Google business accounts are not affected.

Inactive Accounts Are A Compromise Waiting To Happen

Ruth Kricheli, a vice president of product management at Google, went on the record in May to explain the inactive account policy update. “If an account hasn’t been used for an extended period of time, it is more likely to be compromised,” Kricheli said. The reasoning is that accounts that remain unused for a long time will not have undergone regular security checks, will likely not have two-factor authentication activated, and could be using insecure passwords. “Our internal analysis shows abandoned accounts are at least 10x less likely than active accounts to have 2-step verification set up,” Kricheli said. Because, statistically speaking, these dormant accounts are more vulnerable than others, the risk of compromise is increased. A compromised Google account is like winning the lottery as far as threat actors are concerned, providing access to email messages and documents that can be used to reset account passwords, steal identities, and act as a launchpad for malicious activity in general.

What You Need To Do To Protect Your Gmail And Google Photos Content From Deletion

As I reported back in July, in order to protect your Gmail account, your Google Photos content, and anything else linked to your Google Account, most people will need to do precisely nothing. If you only have one Google account, and you’ve signed into it in any way across the last two years, you are safe. If, on the other hand, you have multiple accounts, now is the time to go check and sign into them. Ensure you do this at least once every 24 months and your account, as well as your content, will abe safe from deletion. If you can’t remember your account details, all is not lost. Use the Google account recovery process which requires a recovery email or telephone number. Use known addresses and numbers and the chances are you’ll be OK. You’ll get a verification code sent by email or SMS, and then when you try to log in with an incorrect password you’ll get the opportunity to reset the password via the forgotten password route. Again, a code will be sent to you for verification.

Other Gmail Changes Coming In 2024

11/13 update: The clock isn’t only ticking for users of inactive Google accounts, the countdown is also well and truly on for other changes at Gmail. According to a Google support posting by the end of 2023, there will no longer be support for the Basic HTML version of Gmail that can be viewed in your web browser. From January 2024, the posting states, Gmail will automatically change to the Standard view instead. This appears to be based upon the Basic HTML version of Gmail being more than a decade old. According to Google, the Basic HTML view doesn’t support a number of Gmail features, including chat, spell checking, keyboard shortcuts, importing of contacts, rich formatting and custom ‘from’ addresses. For those users with a visual impairment, Google says that the Gmail Standard view works with screen readers and links to a comprehensive support article for those needing to make the change in January.

The second big change to Gmail starting in 2024 concerns something everyone hates, namely spam. A Google blog posting has confirmed that there will be new requirements for senders of bulk emails to address some of the problems users face with marketing emails. Under the heading of new Gmail protections for a safer, less spammy inbox Google says that it will “require bulk senders to authenticate their emails, allow for easy unsubscription and stay under a reported spam threshold.” These new requirements will apply to anyone who sends over 5,000 messages to Gmail addresses daily. The desire to ensure better email security is at the forefront of this change. “Many bulk senders don’t appropriately secure and configure their systems, allowing attackers to easily hide in their midst,” Google says, “To help fix that, we’ve focused on a crucial aspect of email security: the validation that a sender is who they claim to be.” That validation will be by way of DomainKeys Identified Mail, which can help detect forged email addresses. The added requirement of a working one-click unsubscribe button is also highly welcome news.

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Davey WinderFollow

Davey is a four-decade veteran technology journalist and contributing editor at PC Pro magazine, a position… Read More

Read more here: https://www.forbes.com/sites/daveywinder/2023/11/13/gmail-and-photos-content-deletions-will-start-december-1-google-says/?sh=79cc75354e01

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