For Gmail users who infrequently engage with their accounts, there's a looming risk of losing access to their Gmail accounts in the coming month. In December 2023, Google is set to initiate a significant process that targets the deactivation of millions of Gmail accounts inactive for a minimum of two years.
In a blog post authored by Google's Vice President of Product Management, Ruth Kricheli, back in May, the company outlined its proactive approach to mitigate this risk. Google is implementing an update to its inactivity policy for Google Accounts, standardizing the threshold to 2 years across all products. Commencing in December, Google reserves the right to delete accounts and their contents, encompassing data within the Google Workspace suite (Gmail, Docs, Drive, Meet, Calendar) and Google Photos if the associated Google account remains unused or unsigned into for at least two years.
The reasoning behind this initiative is rooted in the security vulnerabilities associated with neglected accounts. Forgotten or unattended accounts often rely on outdated or reused passwords, potentially compromised. These accounts typically lack two-factor authentication and undergo fewer security checks by the user. Google's internal analysis reveals that abandoned accounts are at least 10 times less likely than active ones to have two-step verification set up. The vulnerability of these accounts is a concern, as once compromised, they can serve as a gateway for various malicious activities, including identity theft and the propagation of unwanted or harmful content, such as spam.
The policy exclusively targets personal Google accounts that have not accessed their Gmail account in two years. It explicitly excludes accounts associated with organizations, such as schools or businesses.
Why Google Accounts deleted:
To maintain account activity and prevent deletion, Google advises users to sign in at least once every two years. Activities that qualify as account engagement include reading or sending an email, using Google Drive, watching a YouTube video, downloading an app from the Google Play Store, or utilizing Google Search.
This proactive measure by Google emphasizes the importance of regular user engagement to ensure account security and underscores the need for enhanced authentication practices to safeguard users from potential security threats associated with dormant accounts. Users are encouraged to remain vigilant and take simple actions to maintain the active status of their Google accounts.