How to close your Google Account

January 25, 2012

After hearing about Google’s plans to unify 60 of its services’ data under one privacy policy and share information between those services, The Washington Post’s Ryan Kellett whipped up a quick poll of users to gauge reaction to the news. Of the 13,541 readers who took our non-scientific poll, by midday Wednesday, 66 percent said that they will cancel their Google accounts because of the changes.

Fifteen percent said they weren’t jumping ship and 19 percent said they had yet to decide.

FAQ: What kind of data is Google able to collect and integrate and how does this affect me?

If you want a backup of what Google has associated with your account either for your own edification or to make a backup before you delete it, you can head to the “data liberation” section of your Account Settings to get a archive of any data Google has you on your Google +1’s, (now-defunct) Buzz account, Circles, Contacts, Docs, Knol, Picasa albums, profile, Google+ Stream and Google Voice. Be warned: it could take a while to compile.

If you’re interested in closing your Google Account, here’s a quick how-to:

1) Sign in to your Google Account

2) Click on your “Account Settings” panel: You can find your Account Settings panel on the top navigation bar of your Google account.

3) Go to the “Services” section of Account Settings.

4) Decide how much you want to delete: You have a few options here, you can delete just your Google+ account, your Google profile, or delete all the data from all your accounts on Google.

5a) Clear your Google+ and/or Google Profile: If you opt for this less-drastic option, you can choose to delete selected Google services. From this menu you can either delete your Google+ profile or your entire Google profile — which will also get rid of your Google+ account.

5b) Delete your account: You can also chose to get rid of the whole kit and caboodle, and close your entire account, which will wipe your Web history, Gmail and Google Talk data. Note that if you have pending financial transactions made through Google accounts, you’ll still have to pay up.

Check the boxes acknowledging that you know you’re clearing your Web history, Gmail and Google Talk information, that you want to delete the account, and that you know you’ll have to pay for pending transactions. Enter your password, and hit “Delete Google Account.”

Related stories:

Google faces backlash over privacy changes

Google announces privacy changes across products; users can’t opt out

FAQ: Google’s new privacy policy

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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