Google will start deleting inactive Photos and Gmail accounts this week, on December 1, 2023.
This is a planned move that Google announced back in May, with the company explaining that accounts that haven’t been active for two years will face deletion.
That includes wiping all content associated with an account, which could be Drive, Google Photos and Docs files.
In a post on its blog, The Keyword, Google’s Vice President of Product Management, Ruth Kricheli, explained that this is a necessary security measure.
“If an account hasn’t been used for an extended period of time, it is more likely to be compromised. This is because forgotten or unattended accounts often rely on old or re-used passwords that may have been compromised, haven’t had two-factor authentication set up, and receive fewer security checks by the user.
“Our internal analysis shows abandoned accounts are at least 10x less likely than active accounts to have 2-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.”
As of 2019, Gmail had 1.5 billion global active users and is one of the most popular email services around. Because of that popularity, and the ease of setting up an account, scammers have been known to target Gmail users. It also makes sense that Google will want to close dormant accounts to free up names and space.