Google has announced a change in its inactivity policy, stating that it will start deleting Gmail and Photos accounts that have been inactive for two years. This change applies only to personal Google Accounts and will not affect accounts for organizations like schools or businesses.
Preserving Storage Space and Updating Inactivity Policy
The decision to delete inactive accounts comes as part of Google’s effort to preserve storage space. In 2020, Google had stated that it would only delete content stored in inactive accounts and not the account itself. However, in order to reduce the risk of compromised accounts, Google is updating its inactivity policy across its products.
Starting later this year, if a Google Account has not been used or signed into for at least 2 years, Google may delete the account and its contents, including content within Google Workspace (Gmail, Docs, Drive, Meet, Calendar), YouTube, and Google Photos. Ruth Kricheli, Vice President of Product Management at Google, made this statement.
Protection Against Compromised Accounts
Google’s decision is aimed at reducing the vulnerability of abandoned accounts. Forgotten or unattended accounts often rely on old or reused passwords, lack two-factor authentication, and receive fewer security checks from the user. Google’s internal analysis shows that abandoned accounts are at least 10 times less likely to have two-step verification set up compared to active accounts.
Once an account is compromised, it can be used for malicious purposes, such as identity theft or spreading unwanted content like spam. By deleting inactive accounts, Google aims to mitigate these risks.
This update aligns Google’s policy with industry standards regarding retention and account deletion, while also limiting the retention of unused personal information.
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