Starting next month, Google will begin deleting millions of Gmail accounts.
The company in May had said it would do so to prevent security threats including hacks.
But what happened? And who is at risk of losing their account?
Let’s take a closer look:
Google in a blog post in May had spelled out what it would begin doing so in December and why.
Google said it would delete the account and content across Google Workspace, which includes Gmail, Docs, Drive, Meet and Calendar, as well as YouTube and Google Photos.
Google vice president of product management Ruth Kricheli wrote, “This is because forgotten or unattended accounts often rely on old or re-used passwords that may have been compromised, haven’t had two-factor authentication set up, and receive fewer security checks by the user.”
“Our internal analysis shows abandoned accounts are at least 10x less likely than active accounts to have two-step verification set up. 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 in 2020 had said it would remove content stored in an inactive account, but not delete the account itself.
Google has been sending multiple notifications to the account email address and recovery mail of the inactive accounts.
Who is at risk?
If you regularly use Google there’s nothing to worry.
Only those people who have not opened their account in two years are at risk.
Google previously said the change only applies to personal Google Accounts and not to those for organisations such as schools or businesses.
You can stop your Google account from being deleted by simply logging into your service once every two years – which would automatically change your account status to active.
As per NDTV, using the following services while signed into your Google Account also designates your account as active:
Reading or sending an email
Using Google Drive
Watching a YouTube video
Downloading an app on the Google Play Store
Using Google Search
Conversely, if you’re fine with your account being deleted you can also hold on to your data.
Kricheli explained how people could save their information in the May blog post.
“You can download and export your data to other platforms through our Takeout feature, which has been available for over a decade,” Kricheli wrote.
Google isn’t the only tech company taking such action.
X CEO Elon Musk in May had said Twitter would remove accounts that have been inactive for several years and archive them, saying that the action is “important to free up abandoned handles.”
X then began removing inactive accounts from the platform.
Musk’s X is now reportedly preparing to sell old and defunct handles on the social media website.
The @Handle Team is preparing to sell accounts that are no longer used.
The team has even sent out emails to potential buyers offering to sell accounts for $50,000.
The emails, which were obtained from current employees, showed that the company recently changed its @handle guidelines, process and fees.
Forbes, which is in possession of the emails, did not publish them in their entirety in order to safeguard the identity of their sources.
An email to X received the following reply: “Busy now, please check back later.”
With inputs from agencies