Google has announced an update to its policies that includes changes to how it will handle inactive accounts. Back in 2020, the tech giant introduced a new policy for accounts that are inactive or over the storage limit, but this is set to change drastically by the end of the year.
As of now, accounts that have been inactive for over 24 months (two years) may have the contents across services such as Gmail, Drive, Photos, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings, Forms, and Jamboard deleted. This also applies if your account has gone over the storage limit for over two years.
With the policy update, Google will not only delete the files of inactive accounts but will erase the accounts entirely. The erasure will of course include content from Google Workspace, YouTube, and Photos. However, the new policy will only apply to personal accounts, so accounts for organisations such as schools or businesses are exempted.
The Alphabet-owned company says that the reason for this move is mostly for security purposes, as forgotten or unattended accounts may use compromised passwords and are less likely to have two-step verification set up. It claims that this leaves these old accounts vulnerable to phishing scams and identity theft.
While the new policy has technically already taken into effect, Google will be giving a grace period after this announcement for users to reactivate old accounts. The earliest it will begin deleting accounts is December 2023, with a phased approached starting with accounts that were created but never used.
The company will also make sure you aren’t taken by surprise by sending you multiple notifications over the months before deletion to the email address and the recovery email. Some of the ways to keep your account active include reading or sending an email, using Google Drive, watching a YouTube video while signed into the account, downloading an app on the Play Store, using Search, and, of course, just signing in.
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