Social Navigation

Google will delete inactive accounts for two years starting in December due to security threats


Alphabet’s Google said on Tuesday it will delete accounts that have remained unused for two years starting in December, in an effort to prevent security threats including a hack.

The company said that if a Google account hasn’t been used or logged into for at least two years, it may delete the account and content across Google Workspace, which includes Gmail, Docs, Drive, Meet, and Calendar, as well as YouTube and Google Photos.

The policy change only applies to personal Google Accounts and not to organizational accounts such as schools or businesses.

In 2020, Google said it would remove content stored in an inactive account, but not the account itself.

Starting Tuesday, Google will send multiple notifications to the account email address and recovery mail for inactive accounts before deletion.

Last week, Elon Musk said Twitter would remove and archive accounts that have been inactive for several years, saying the action is “important to free abandoned accounts.”

Earlier this month, it was reported that Google, Microsoft, Amazon and other non-EU cloud service providers looking to secure an EU cybersecurity label for handling sensitive data could only do so through a joint venture with a company based in European Union, according to a draft EU document seen by Reuters.

The US tech giants and other participants in the joint venture could only have a minority stake, the document said, and employees with access to EU data would have to undergo specific screening and must be in the 27-nation bloc.

Last month, shares of Alphabet fell more than 4 percent in premarket trading after a report that South Korea’s Samsung Electronics was considering replacing Google with Microsoft-owned Bing as the default search engine on its devices.

© Thomson Reuters 2023

Google I/O 2023 saw the search giant tell us over and over again that it cares about AI, along with the launch of its first Pixel-branded foldable phone and tablet. This year, the company will power its apps, services, and Android operating system with artificial intelligence technology. We discuss this and more on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcast.
Affiliate links may be generated automatically – see our Ethics Statement for details.

Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.