Google is facing criticism for its plan to clean up inactive accounts

Ruth Porat, chief financial officer of Alphabet, speaks during a panel session at the World Economic Forum on May 24, 2022 in Davos, Switzerland.

Holly Adams | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Google said in May that starting in December, it would begin cleaning up inactive accounts, a sort of warning sign for people using multiple logins. Recently, Google has been nudging people via email to remind them what happens to these dormant accounts.

Critics of Google’s strategy are making their voices heard.

Sabrina Meherally, CEO of Canadian design firm Pause and Effect, wrote in a LinkedIn post last week that she received an email alert with the vanilla subject line, “We’re updating our Google Account inactivity policy.”

“I think email subject lines should be crystal clear, especially if there’s a consequence attached to the customer’s inaction,” he said. With the amount of e-mail and spam in my inbox, I might as well delete it.”

One thing Meherally suggests could be more effective is a “banner on,” the company’s ubiquitous search engine.

Users typically maintain multiple accounts, allowing them to use different email addresses for different purposes and store online photos and documents in separate locations. But storage space on free Google accounts comes at a cost. And the company’s focus this year is on profitability.

Still, consumers aren’t used to this new form of Google aggression.

A person using the handle StoneRose95 on X, formerly known as Twitter, asked, “What are you doing Google?” a posta screenshot of the email message is attached.

The new policy does not apply to schools or businesses that use Google accounts. It is also safe to charge subscribers for services such as additional storage. Google noted in a 2020 blog post that the standard 15GB allotment should last three years or more for 80% of account holders.

Log in once every two years

Maintaining this extra account doesn’t take much work. All a user has to do is log in at least once every two years. Google said in a post in May that it intends to implement the cleanup to prevent attackers from taking over careless personal accounts. It said users will receive “multiple notifications for months that have not been deleted”.

“Forgotten or unattended accounts often rely on stolen or reused passwords, lack two-factor authentication, and receive fewer security checks by the user,” Google vice president Ruth Kricheli wrote. Mail. “Our internal analysis shows that abandoned accounts are at least 10 times less likely to set up 2-step verification than active accounts.”

A Google spokesperson said that this is the first time that the company implements such a policy.

Microsoft acts similarly. With some exceptions, users must log into their accounts at least once every two years to keep them active, and the company reserves the right to close accounts if people don’t comply.

What is not mentioned in Krichell’s post is that the Google parent Alphabet is in save mode.

For the first time in nearly two decades as a public company, Google’s revenue has grown by less than 10% for four consecutive quarters. Advertisers have been cautious due to an uncertain economy, and Google’s YouTube service is seeing increased competition from TikTok.

Alphabet has cut thousands of jobs this year, slowing hiring and focusing on efficiency. Finance chief Ruth Porat described the moves as “efforts to rebuild our cost base.” Inside the company, he told employees to expect adjustments to PC upgrade cycles, service schedules, cafeteria operations and even fitness classes, CNBC reports.

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It’s a familiar theme in the tech sector. Amazon, Microsoft and Meta All have de-emphasized growth and sought ways to cut costs.

When it comes to Google’s new account policy and the security reasons behind the changes, a developer named Chris Beiser questioned the company’s logic.

“Older accounts are more likely to be hacked, so are we going to delete the accounts? If the bank isn’t secure, we should burn all their money before the bank robber robs it,” Beiser said. He wrote in X. “This article is really disingenuous.”

Emmett Shear, co-founder and former CEO of Amazon-owned video streaming service Twitch, criticized the original announcement, expressing concern that the change would cause many older YouTube videos to disappear.

But Google quickly updated its blog post to say, “At this time, we have no plans to remove accounts with YouTube videos.”

“Long live!” Cut He wrote in X in response to a pinch.

A parent named Stephanie Murphy took to TikTok to express her displeasure with Google’s new approach to dormant accounts. In the video, Murphy said he created an account for his daughter. She never logs in to the accounts, but instead sends emails to her daughter for future reference, like a journal.

“Everything was going well until I got this email from Google today,” he said in the video. “I literally only use this account to send email and never log in.”

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