Google will cancel millions of inactive accounts: just not logging in for at least 2 years to lose everything.
If you have a Google Account that you haven’t used in a while but want to keep, you might want to sign in again. The company announced today that it will begin deleting accounts that have been inactive for at least two years. Google presents it as a move to improve privacy and security, but it’s easy to also see it as a cost-cutting measure to free up storage space on Google’s servers.
Starting this year, anyone with an inactive account for two years will receive an email warning that they will be disabled if they don’t log in within 60 days. After deactivation, you’ll have another 60 days to sign in before the company permanently deletes it. So in total, you’ll have about four months notice to recover your account, which seems reasonable. Google says the earliest it will start deleting accounts is December 2023.
The company will send email alerts to both the account in danger of deletion and any recovery emails you’ve added. Deactivation and deletion will apply to everything you use with that account, including Gmail, Drive, Docs, YouTube, Google Photos, Meet, and Calendar. It only applies to personal accounts, so work or school emails will be spared from deletion.
Even if the reason stated by the company concerns privacy, it could actually be a rather simple way to reduce the expenses necessary to keep billions of data from as many underused accounts. Engadget, however, points out that there are valid reasons that justify the choice of Google: in addition to not having updated passwords, abandoned accounts almost always do not have two-factor authentication activated, making them more vulnerable to theft attempts and “hijacking” for the purpose of scams by criminals.