Starting in December, Google will begin deleting accounts that have not been used for at least two years as part of efforts to address security risks, the company said Tuesday.
Deleting your old account doesn’t just mean losing access to Gmail. Work in Google Docs, Google Workspace, Google Photos and other Google products will also be removed, as will any videos uploaded to YouTube by affected users.
Ruth Kricheli, vice president of product management for the company, In a statement announcing the new policy, it said The move is intended to protect users from security threats, as accounts that have not been used for a while are more likely to be compromised.
An internal analysis by Google found that abandoned accounts were significantly less likely than active accounts to undergo two-factor authentication, an authentication method that helps confirm a user’s identity, the company said.
“These accounts are often vulnerable,” Ms Kricheli said, “and once an account is compromised, it can be used for anything from identity theft to spreading unwanted or even malicious content like spam.”
The policy went into effect Tuesday, but the company said it won’t start deleting unused accounts until December at the earliest. Google says it will first clear accounts that have been set up but never used.
Before deleting an account, Google said it will send multiple notifications to users via Gmail and any alternate email addresses that have been provided.
Ms. Kricheli said the plan to delete inactive Google accounts applies only to individual accounts and would not affect organizations such as schools or businesses that use Gmail and other Google services.
Google users who have not used their account for at least two years and do not wish to delete their account can do so by simply logging into Gmail or any other Google service such as Google Drive, YouTube or Google Search, or by downloading any application from the Google Play Store.
The company stated that any existing subscription Users set up with Google Accounts (such as accounts linked to news outlets) will be considered active users and their accounts will not be deleted.