If you have an old Google account lying around you might want to check on it lest you lose it to the void forever. Google announced back in May that it planned to clean house by deactivating any inactive Google accounts and that time has now arrived.
We’ve broken down exactly what is changing with Google accounts and what you can do about it below.
Why is Google deactivating old accounts?
In Google’s Safety & Security update on May 16, Ruth Kricheli (VP, Product Management) said that an account that “hasn’t been used for an extended period of time” is “more likely to be compromised.” Kricheli added that their internal analysis shows unused accounts are ten times more likely than active accounts to have 2-factor authentication set up, meaning they are also more vulnerable.
To curb this potential security issue, Google is making the move to completely delete these inactive accounts.
What is considered an inactive Google account?
So how old does an account have to be for it to be wiped in Google’s latest sweep?
According to Google’s announcement, an account that has not been signed into for at least 2 years may be flagged for deletion. This will include a comlete wipe of the account including its Google workspace (Drive, Docs, Meet, Calendar, Gmail) and Photos content.
Note that this only impacts personal Google accounts, not ones tied to a school or business.
When is this change happening?
In Google’s blog update it said the company would begin deleting accounts from December 2023. An exact date was not specified but it means accounts could be deactivated starting today (December 1).
The company did say it would take a phased approach to this rollout and would start with accounts that were created only to never be used again.
Users whose accounts are set for deletion will also be sent multiple notifications in the months prior to deletion – to both their account and recovery email – giving plenty of time to reactivate their account if they choose.
How to save your account
If you’d like to keep an account of yours active, you’ll need to complete at least one of the following actions:
- Reading or sending an email
- Using Google Drive
- Watching a YouTube video
- Downloading an app on the Google Play Store
- Using Google Search
- Using Sign in with Google to sign in to a third-party app or service
You’ll need to do one of these activities at least once every two years for your account to continue to be considered active.
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