The policy was announced earlier this year but comes into effect next month
The cull will impact all personal Google accounts that have been dormant for more than two years and will see emails, documents, spreadsheets, calendar appointments, photos and videos all permanently deleted.
The policy had been announced earlier this year, but it will come into effect from December 1, 2023, PC Magazine reports.
Google issues a three-week warning to Gmail users.
Back in May, Ruth Kricheli, Google’s vice president of product management, wrote in a blog post: “We are updating our inactivity policy for Google Accounts to two years across our products.
“This update aligns our policy with industry standards around retention and account deletion and also limits the amount of time Google retains your unused personal information.”
The move is designed to protect active Google users from security threats like phishing scams and account hijacking.
Accounts that have not been used in a long time are typically the most susceptible to hackers. This is because they may use the same passwords that have been leaked in security breaches, which are often available on the dark web.
Google has assured users that accounts at risk of being deleted will receive “multiple notifications” before any action is taken. These notifications will also be sent to any associated recovery email addresses.
Will my Gmail account be deleted?
Emails have already been sent out to those affected, telling users it is “to protect your private information and prevent any unauthorised access to your account even if you are no longer using our services.”
If you lose access to your Gmail account, this could result in you being unable to use other online platforms and services which were linked to your Gmail address.
To make sure your account remains active, users are advised to open or send an email, use Google Drive, download an app on the Google Play Store, or simply make a Google Search while logged in to the account.
Any account that has posted a video to YouTube will also not be impacted, regardless of when it was last active.
The policy also only applies to personal accounts, meaning accounts tied to an employer, school, or other organisation will not be impacted.
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