Owners of a Google account that has been inactive for at least two years have started receiving email warnings telling them it will be permanently deleted starting December 1, 2023, if they don’t log in. According to The Independent, the warning messages are a part of Google’s recent policy change that was announced earlier this year.
The alerts are not surprising. In May, Google announced that accounts that have not been used for a long time are an open invitation to security threats. With that in mind, Google revised its policy and revealed that accounts laying dormant for two years, or more, will be terminated.
With the deletion of a Google account, all critical Workspace (formerly G Suite) services linked to it will also be gone forever. What that means is all your emails, media stored in Photos, files in Drive, Docs material, and Keep notes, among other things, will also be deleted.
The process of account deletion will formally begin starting in December 2023, but not before multiple warning messages are sent to account owners. Google will pursue the account expunging process in a phased manner, starting with accounts that were created, but never used.
If you have a Google account that’s at rick of being deleted, Google will shoot multiple alerts into your Gmail inbox months in advance. And as an added step of caution, the same warning message will appear in the inbox of another account that has been set as the recovery email address.
Thankfully, the scope of “activity” outlined by Google is fairly relaxed. You can simply open the Gmail inbox and read an email to confirm the activity. Alternatively, users can simply open their linked Google Drive account, watch a YouTube video, download an app from the Play Store, perform a Google Search, or simply use the Google account sign-in feature for any third-party service.
The only requirement is that, whichever task you perform, you make sure that you are logged in with the at-risk Google account in that app or web browser. Any active subscription that employs the Google account will also qualify as a sign of user activity.
Following a few more rules that help ascertain an account’s active status in the company’s own words:
- Your Google Account was used to make a purchase of a Google product, app, service, or subscription that is current or ongoing.
- Your Google Account contains a gift card with a monetary balance.
- Your Google Account owns a published application or game with ongoing, active subscriptions or active financial transactions associated with them. This might be a Google Account that owns an App on the Google Play store.