MANILA, Philippines – Google’s new policy on inactive accounts, first announced in May 2023, will start banning inactive Google accounts starting December 1, 2023.
Accounts that have not been active within two years will be marked for deletion, with users of those accounts being sent warning emails to the marked account and recovery emails, if any.
To avoid deletion, a user must do at least one of the following while logged in to the account:
- Reading or sending an email
- Using Google Drive
- Watching a YouTube video
- Sharing a photo
- Downloading an app
- Using Google Search
- Using Sign in with Google to sign in to a third-party app or service
“When your Google Account has not been used within a two-year period, your Google Account, that is then deemed inactive, and all of its content and data may be deleted,” Google said in its post.
Accounts are exempted from deletion even if inactive for two years when the account has done any of the following:
- Your Google Account was used to make a purchase of a Google product, app, service, or subscription that is current or ongoing.
- Your Google Account contains a gift card with a monetary balance.
- Your Google Account owns a published application or game with ongoing, active subscriptions or active financial transactions associated with them. This might be a Google Account that owns an App on the Google Play store.
- Your Google Account manages an active minor account with Family Link.
- Your Google Account has been used to purchase a digital item, for example, a book or movie.
The policy only applies to personal accounts, and does not apply to Google accounts set up for work, school, or other organizations.
Google’s official statement on its deletion policy is tied to cybersecurity concerns.
Ruth Kricheli VP, product management, explained, “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.” – Rappler.com