Tech giant Google announced an update to its inactive account policies. An official statement read that it plans to delete accounts that have remained inactive for two years or more.
The company said that this is part of its ongoing efforts to strengthen security for its vast user base. In 2020, Google had said it would remove content stored in inactive accounts, but not delete the account itself. The recent announcement is a change in that policy.
The updated policy takes effect immediately, but Google said it will not begin deleting accounts until December. The company plans to send out multiple warning notifications to users and to conduct the purge of inactive accounts in phases.
The first accounts on the chopping block will be those that were created and then never revisited by the user, Google said. The policy also will only impact personal accounts, leaving organisations like schools and businesses untouched.
“Internal analysis shows abandoned accounts are at least 10x less likely than active accounts to have 2-step-verification set up. Meaning, these accounts are often vulnerable, and once an account is compromised, it can be used for anything from identity theft to a vector for unwanted or even malicious content, like spam,” Google stated.
The simplest way to keep a Google Account active is to sign-in at least once every two years. Activities such as signing in to the Google Account or carrying out actions such as reading or sending an email, using Google Drive, watching a YouTube video and the like will also be enough to keep the account active.
Accounts with YouTube videos and existing subscriptions set up, for example to Google One, a news publication or an app, will not be impacted as well, Google announced.