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Google is set to initiate the removal of millions of inactive Gmail accounts starting in December.

On November 11, Gmail users who infrequently access their accounts face potential account removal in December as Google starts deleting accounts that have been inactive for at least two years.

This clean-up initiative extends beyond Gmail accounts, encompassing Google Photo libraries, Google Calendar appointments, and Google Docs archives. Ruth Kricheli, Google’s Vice President of Product Management, stated that the company is implementing these deletions to minimize vulnerabilities to malicious actors. Importantly, this policy only impacts personal accounts.

Kricheli highlighted that forgotten or neglected accounts often employ outdated or reused passwords, lacking two-factor authentication and receiving fewer security checks from users. Compromised accounts pose risks ranging from identity theft to the dissemination of malicious content, as detailed in her earlier blog post announcing this change.

To maintain an active Google Account, Kricheli recommended users perform any of the following actions at least once every two years:

  1. Read or send an email.
  2. Use Google Drive.
  3. Watch a YouTube video.
  4. Download an app from the Google Play Store.
  5. Use Google Search.
  6. Use “Sign in with Google” to access a third-party app or service.

She emphasized that if users have signed into their Google Account or any associated services recently, their accounts will be considered active and spared from deletion.

Already, users are required to sign into Google Photos every two years to retain an active status, safeguarding their images from deletion. Kricheli’s suggestions aim to ensure users take proactive steps to keep their accounts active, fostering a more secure and streamlined user experience.

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