If you have an old Gmail account you haven't used in two years, be warned it is on the chopping block, as on Friday Google will start deleting accounts that have not been used in two years or longer.
Several tech companies have historically engaged in schemes to try to inflate their user numbers, in hopes of attracting investors or jacking up their stock price. But those matters are not concerns for Silicon Valley giant Google (or Alphabet, whatever) who have no need to inflate their user numbers. And any little-used Google accounts can pose identity theft and hacking threats because of their general lack of two-step-verification added to the accounts.
Google to begin deleting inactive accounts this week https://t.co/ZMoL2W3Jyj— Mercury News (@mercnews) November 27, 2023
And CNN reminds us that Google is going to start deleting abandoned accounts on Friday, December 1. The company actually announced this move back in May, but the purge starts Friday. They’re only deleting accounts that haven’t been logged into in two years, as those accounts overwhelmingly do not have two-factor authentication set up. And a lack of two-factor authentication makes those accounts highly vulnerable to spam, phishing, and hacking.
“To reduce this risk, we are updating our inactivity policy for Google Accounts to 2 years across our products,” Google said in that May 16 company blog post. “Starting later this year, if a Google Account has not been used or signed into for at least 2 years, we may delete the account and its contents – including content within Google Workspace (Gmail, Docs, Drive, Meet, Calendar) and Google Photos.”
According to NPR, Google has already been sending multiple warning notifications to accounts at risk of being deleted, as well as to those users’ recovery emails (if one was provided). And they’ll only delete personal accounts, not accounts belonging to organizations like schools or businesses.
If you’re unsure if you’ve used your Google account in the last two years, the ways to keep your account active show the staggering and invasive reach of Google products. All you have to do to render your Google account active is to read one Gmail email, use Google Drive for something one time, download an app on Google Play, or even just watch a YouTube video. It’s difficult to imagine anyone going two years without doing any of those things these days, though sure, some people may have decided they prefer other platforms for those things.
If you have one of those abandoned accounts and want to download your old pictures or files, the Google Takeout page lets you download and/or export old files.
KTVU has some tips on what to do if you forgot your old Google email or password. The company offers tools to recover your Gmail address or reset your password, recover your Google account, or recover a hijacked or compromised Google account.
Image: Brett Jordan via Unsplash