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Gmail, Photos and Drive users have been warned about dramatic changes to their accounts for months but the new rules finally come into force from tomorrow. Google first sent out alerts late last year which explained that it was changing its terms to allow the company to delete accounts and remove content without needing permission from the user. The update will affect anyone with a Gmail, Drive or Photos account and could see all of their data heading straight to the digital rubbish bin.

In an email sent out to users, Google said: “We are writing to let you know that we recently announced new storage policies for Google Accounts using Gmail, Google Drive (including Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings, Forms, and Jamboard files) and/or Google Photos that bring us in line with industry practices. All of your content may be removed”

Now, before you start rushing around in mad panic, as long as you use your account on regular basis you won’t be affected by these new changes.

Google is bringing in the refreshed policy in a bid to rid its servers of accounts and files that lay dormant for a number of years.

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“If you’re inactive for 2 years (24 months) in Gmail, Drive or Photos, we may delete the content in the product(s) in which you’re inactive. If you exceed your storage limit for 2 years, we may delete your content across Gmail, Drive and Photos,” the firm said.

The other thing to note is that the new rules come into force today meaning nothing will be deleted until at least 2023.

If you haven’t touched your Photos for Gmail for a long time, Google will inform you a number of times before hitting the delete button so users shouldn’t lose any content without hearing about it first.

Along with Google now being able to remove content there’s another big change which comes into force from today.

Until now, Google Photos users have been able to upload endless pictures to the cloud without having to pay a penny for the privilege.

But that’s all changing. Unfortunately, from June 1, 2021 onwards, all images – no matter what quality you’re uploading – will now eat into that 15GB allowance. Once users have hit that limit, they will then have to pay to add more storage via Google’s One service.

Prices for extra space start from £1.59 per month for 100GB, £2.49 for 200GB or £7.99 for a whopping 2TB. Explaining more about the change, Google said: “From 1 June 2021, high-quality and express-quality content will count towards your Google Account storage. Once you’ve reached your storage limit, you can either subscribe to Google One (where available) for additional storage or delete content in order to continue with the free storage option in Photos.”

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