As part of a significant platform change, Google has started alerting users to the fact that millions of Gmail accounts will be deleted next month.
All personal Google accounts that have lain idle for a minimum of two years will be affected by the purge; emails, files, spreadsheets, calendar entries, images, and videos will all be permanently erased.
Although the strategy was unveiled earlier this year, it won’t take effect until December 2023.
Ruth Kricheli, Google’s vice president of product management, stated in a blog post in May that “we are updating our inactivity policy for Google Accounts to two years across our products.”
With regard to retention and account deletion, this update “aligns our policy with industry standards and limits the amount of time Google retains your unused personal information.”
The action is intended to shield Google customers who are actively using the service from security risks including account theft and phishing attacks.
Hackers often target old accounts that haven’t been used in years since they might utilize passwords that have been exposed in previous security lapses and are readily available on the dark web.
Before any action is done, Google warned that any account that is in danger of being deleted will receive “multiple notifications,” including to any linked recovery email addresses.
Informing consumers that this is “to protect your private information and prevent any unauthorised access to your account even if you’re no longer using our services,” the internet giant has already started sending emails to individuals who are impacted.
If a person loses access to their Gmail account, they can also be unable to use other services and websites linked to that email address, even if they have nothing to do with Google.
Google customers are encouraged to send or receive emails, use Google Drive, download apps from the Google Play Store, or just perform a Google search while logged in to their account in order to keep it active and prevent it from being erased.
It won’t affect any account that has uploaded a video to YouTube, regardless of when it was last active.