- If you have Google accounts that you have not used in a long time, this might be the best time to check the accounts to avoid losing them permanently.
Google has announced that it will start deleting user accounts that have been inactive for at least two years, starting on December 1, 2023. The new policy aims to boost security by removing unused accounts that are more vulnerable to hacking and misuse.
According to statements made in May, 2022, Google said internal research shows inactive accounts tend to rely on outdated security measures like recycled passwords. They also often lack extra protections like two-factor authentication. This makes the abandoned accounts prime targets for cyber criminals looking for channels to exploit.
By proactively deleting very inactive accounts altogether, Google hopes to reduce the security risks faced by its users, and also limit the chances of malicious attacks that might be carried out through old accounts. Security experts applaud this precautionary approach to effectively “shrinking the attack surface” available to hackers online.
Google first made its account deletion plans known in May, 2022, but is only now beginning the enforcement. The company has spent recent months sending warning to affected users through notifications to account emails and backup recovery addresses.
The policy applies to free personal accounts covering services like Gmail, Drive, Calendar, Photos, and YouTube. However, it exempts enterprise and education accounts managed by schools or businesses. The company says all contents attached to an account will be erased if the account gets deleted after two years of inactivity – this includes emails, files, contacts, calendar events, photos, and more, however, this will not include YouTube videos.
To preserve Google accounts and data, users simply need to log in or use any of the service like YouTube, Gmail and Drive before hitting the two-year inactivity mark.
Google recommend that users should update their passwords, enable two-factor authentication, and confirm recovery contact information, to keep their account secure.