Google has begun warning users that it will delete millions of Gmail accounts next month as part of a major update to the platform.
This will affect all personal Google accounts that have been inactive for at least two years. During the process, emails, documents, spreadsheets, calendar appointments, photos and videos will be permanently discarded.
The policy was introduced earlier this year but will come into effect in December 2023.
“We are updating our policy and will only allow Google accounts across all our products to remain inactive for up to two years,” 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 account retention and deletion, and also limits the amount of time Google retains unused personal information.”
The move aims to protect active Google users from security threats such as phishing scams and account hijacking.
Accounts that remain inactive for years are often prone to hacks. hackerssince the passwords that were affected can be used in other security breaches, easily accessible through the dark web.
Google clarified that any account at risk of deletion will receive “multiple notifications” before any action is taken. Such notifications will also be sent to the associated recovery email addresses.
The technology giant has already begun to communicate with those affected to explain that the measure aims to “protect private information and prevent any unauthorized access to the account, even if the services are no longer used.”
Losing access to a Gmail account could also prevent people from using other online platforms and services associated with that email address, even if these are not related to Google.
To keep an account active and avoid deletion, Google users are encouraged to open or send an email, use Google Drive, download an app on Google Play, or simply perform a Google search while logged into the account. .
Any account from which a video was posted to YouTube will also not be affected, regardless of when it was last active.
Translation of Michelle Padilla