Haven’t checked your old Gmail account in a while? Google could delete it

Google will start deleting accounts that have been inactive for at least two years as part of a new security plan, the company announced Tuesday.

People won’t just lose access to their email, they’ll also lose content stored within Google WorkSpace, including Google Docs and Google Photos. Tuesday’s announcement is just a warning. Google said the earliest the company will start deleting accounts is December.

The change will only impact personal accounts, and will not impact accounts for organizations such as schools or businesses. Google will start by deleting accounts that were created but then never used again, and the company will send multiple notifications in the months leading up to a deletion. The notifications will go both to the Google email and the recovery email, if one exists for the account.

People who don’t want their accounts to be deleted should make sure to sign into inactive accounts. Google also shared some examples of activity for those already signed in, including reading or sending an email, using Google Drive, using Google Search and watching a YouTube video.

The move to delete inactive accounts is a security decision, Google said. Inactive accounts are more likely to be compromised because they’re more likely to use old or re-used passwords. They’re also 10 times less likely than active accounts to have two-step verification set up.

“Meaning, 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 said.

This is among the latest security moves by Google. The company also recently announced it would offer passkeys, which are safer than passwords, as a login option.

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