Other Technology | May 20, 2023
Google has updated its account inactivity policy with a significant change. The American tech giant states that all personal accounts that have not had at least one login activity in the last two years may be deleted along with their entire contents. This measure will come into effect in December 2023.
It is important to note that a Google account is more than just a tool for preserving search preferences or accessing Gmail. It serves as the gateway to the entire ecosystem of products and services offered by the American company, including solutions such as Docs, Drive, Meet, Calendar, Photos, YouTube, and more.
Currently, most online services have policies for deleting inactive accounts. To mention a few examples, Twitter states that users must log in at least once every 30 days to maintain their account. In the case of WhatsApp, the time frame for inactivity to keep the account should not exceed 120 days.
However, the change by Google is notable because the previous policy stated that if a user maintained an inactive account for more than two years, they risked losing the content within it, not the account itself. As mentioned above, this has just changed. It should be noted, however, that this new policy does not apply to enterprise or educational accounts.
Google defends this move by citing concerns related to security threats such as spam, phishing, and account hijacking. According to the search engine company, accounts that have been inactive for a prolonged period of time are more vulnerable due to weak security measures or passwords reused on other services.
“Once an account is compromised, it can be used for anything, from identity theft to a vector for unwanted or even malicious content, such as spam.”
With this measure having a defined date, you may wonder how to keep your accounts active, especially if you have multiple accounts in addition to your main one. The recommendation is to log in at least once every two years or maintain activity on the account. This means using Gmail, Drive, YouTube, Play Store, and other services offered by the company.
Regarding the deletion of accounts, Google has stated that it will begin gradually starting from December 2023. “We will take a phased approach, starting with accounts that were created and never used again.” They also mention that before deleting an account, they will notify affected users months in advance via email.