November 27, 2023
Google is set to implement its plan to eliminate inactive accounts starting this Friday, targeting those that have remained dormant for at least two years.
The tech giant first disclosed this new initiative in May, citing security concerns as the primary driver. According to internal assessments, older accounts tend to rely on recycled passwords and lack updated security measures such as two-step verification, rendering them more susceptible to security threats like phishing, hacking, and spam.
Since August, Google has been issuing warnings to impacted users, sending multiple alerts to affected accounts and their provided backup emails.
Detailing the phased approach, Google clarified in May that the initial accounts to face deletion would be those created but never revisited by the user.
“Our aim is to safeguard your private information and prevent unauthorized access to your account, even if you’re no longer active on our services,” Google mentioned in an August policy update.
This deletion strategy encompasses a wide array of Google services, including Gmail, Docs, Drive, and Photos. Consequently, all data within an inactive user’s Google suite is at risk of removal.
However, there are exceptions to this mass deletion. Accounts associated with YouTube channels, those holding remaining balances on gift cards, those used for digital purchases like books or movies, and those hosting published active apps on platforms such as the Google Play store will be spared, as stated by the company in August.
This move marks a departure from a prior policy. In 2020, Google announced that while content from unused services would be wiped, the accounts themselves wouldn’t be deleted.
To retain an account, users simply need to log in to their Google account or any affiliated service once every two years. Activities such as reading an email, watching a video, or conducting a single search can also help preserve the account.