Google has announced it will begin deleting millions of Gmail, Drive and Photos accounts next month as part of a major update to the platform.
All personal accounts left inactive for two years will be purged. All emails, documents, spreadsheets, calendar appointments, photos and videos will be permanently deleted.
The policy was introduced earlier this year but is set to come into effect in December 2023, the Irish Independent reports.
“We are updating our inactivity policy for Google Accounts to two years across our products,” Ruth Kricheli, Google’s vice president of product management, wrote in a blog post in May.
“This update aligns our policy with industry standards around retention and account deletion, and also limits the amount of time Google retains your unused personal information.”
The move is aimed at protecting active Google users from security threats such as phishing scams and account hijacking.
The move will help reduce the risk of being accessed by hackers who may use the same passwords that have been compromised in other security breaches.
These passwords are reportedly easily available on the dark web.
Before an account is deleted, multiple notifications will be sent to ask customers to reactivate the account.
These notifications will also be sent to any associated recovery email addresses.
It has been reported that losing access to a Gmail account could also potentially prevent people from using other online platforms and services that are associated with that email address.
This will affect online accounts that are not related to Google.
In order to keep an account active and avoid being deleted, Google users are advised to open or send an email, use Google Drive, download an app on the Google Play Store, or simply do a Google search while logged in to the account.
However the purge does not affect accounts used to post a video on YouTube, regardless of when it was last active.
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