Back in May, Google officially announced that it would start deleting personal accounts that have been inactive for two years, with the purging process kicking off in December 2023. The reasoning behind this rather radical move is that old accounts are typically the biggest targets for hackers as they may be using insecure passwords, similar to those leveraged by compromised accounts found on the dark web. They are also targets of malicious activities like spam, phishing scams, and account hijacking.
Now, Independent reports that Google has started sending out email reminders to users with inactive accounts on the affected accounts themselves as well as recovery addresses, cautioning them that their accounts are being deleted for security reasons.
Those impacted will receive an email saying that this move is being implemented “to protect your private information and prevent any unauthorized access to your account even if you’re no longer using our services”. This can be problematic for people who used certain email addresses to sign up for websites in the past, which means that deleting those accounts could also mean losing access to some sites.
As to what will be deleted, Google has made it clear that it will remove all data found on any of its services, such as Gmail, Docs, Drive, etc. However, it is important to note that if an account was used to upload a YouTube video, it won’t face deletion, since such a move could mean the erasure of legacy content on YouTube as well.
If you’re among those impacted, and you want to avoid the deletion of your account, send an email, download an app from the Play Store, or watch a YouTube video through that account before December to ensure activity.
Notably, Google is only deleting personal accounts, with enterprise and education email addresses not being impacted. That said, the process will be irreversible, so make sure to act accordingly.