Connect with us


Google to retire inactive accounts starting December 2023



Google to retire inactive accounts starting December 2023

Started later this year, unused Google accounts will be deleted, Google says.

“Starting later this year, if a Google Account has not been used or signed into for at least 2 years, we may delete the account and its contents – including content within Google Workspace (Gmail, Docs, Drive, Meet, Calendar) and Google Photos,” says Google.

“The policy only applies to personal Google Accounts, and will not affect accounts for organizations like schools or businesses. This update aligns our policy with industry standards around retention and account deletion and also limits the amount of time Google retains your unused personal information.”

Google attributes the policy change to security concerns, saying that old and unused accounts are at a higher risk of being compromised since many of them don’t have security measures such as two-factor authentication set up.

“…if an account hasn’t been used for an extended period of time, it is more likely to be compromised. This is because forgotten or unattended accounts often rely on old or re-used passwords that may have been compromised, haven’t had two-factor authentication set up, and receive fewer security checks by the user. Our internal analysis shows abandoned accounts are at least 10x less likely than active accounts to have 2-step-verification set up. Meaning, these accounts are often vulnerable, and once an account is compromised, it can be used for anything from identity theft to a vector for unwanted or even malicious content, like spam.”

“To reduce this risk, we are updating our inactivity policy for Google Accounts to 2 years across our products.”

The new policy went into effect immediately – i.e. on May 16th when it was announced. However, Google says that it will only start implementing it in December.

Given that Google accounts are front and centre of the entire Android experience, the policy change is something worth noting for all Android users as being locked out of one’s Google account due to inactivity can mean total loss of any data associated with their Android device. Contacts, emails, photos, apps, the list is long.

“We will take a phased approach, starting with accounts that were created and never used again,” Google says. “Before deleting an account, we will send multiple notifications over the months leading up to deletion, to both the account email address and the recovery email (if one has been provided).”

It’s time to check up on that random Gmail you created back in college that you have never gone back to again. Or the one you set up just to get a burner account up and running on Twitter for the banter. Or, for those of us with elderly people in our care that are unlikely to be actively keeping tabs with their accounts, especially if they use non-Android devices or they have since shifted to non-smartphones.

So now, what can you do to make sure Google’s axe doesn’t land on you? Google recommends doing any of the following as they are indicators of account activity and, as a result, they will let you keep using their services:

  • Reading or sending an email
  • Using Google Drive
  • Watching a YouTube video
  • Downloading an app on the Google Play Store
  • Using Google Search
  • Using Sign in with Google to sign in to a third-party app or service
  • Maintaining an active subscription to a Google service like Google One (buying additional storage), a news publication and/or an app.

Source link