Gmail owners whose accounts have been dormant for at least two years could have their email and associated data subject to deletion as Google plans to eradicate old and abandoned accounts in December this year, the company announced.
Per Google, the move is aimed at protecting users from vulnerabilities that their accounts may have been exposed to, including the likelihood of identity theft.
Explaining why, VP of Project Management Ruth Kicheli said that “forgotten or unattended accounts” often depend on “old or re-used passwords” that “may have been compromised, haven’t had two-factor authentication set up, and receive fewer security checks from the user.”
Further, the company exec also claimed that internal findings showed that abandoned accounts are “10x less likely” to have a two-step verification enabled than active accounts, significantly raising the risk.
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Although the updated policy will have already taken effect as of writing, Google will not start deleting affected Gmail accounts, which will be exclusive to personal accounts only, until December this year.
To ensure that the owners are properly informed about the fate of their no longer used accounts, Google will be sending notifications on the email address and the recovery email address tied to it in the months before deletion starts.
Upon deletion, all data linked with the affected Gmail account, including Google Photos, YouTube, etc., will be completely removed.
While the actual eradication process has not taken place, owners of dormant accounts could still manage to retain the validity of their accounts by doing at least any of the following:
- Read or send an email
- Watch a YouTube video
- Use Google Drive
- Search using Google Search
- Download an app via Google Play Store
- Sign in to a third-party app or device using their Google account