Google has issued a three-week notice to G-mail account users regarding an upcoming cleanup operation that may result in the permanent deletion of emails, documents, photos, and videos.
As part of a major platform update, Google announced the deletion of millions of Gmail accounts in December. The company explained that this action applies to all personal Google accounts inactive for at least two years, resulting in the permanent removal of emails, documents, spreadsheets, calendar appointments, photos, and videos.
While the policy was introduced earlier in the year, it will be enforced starting December 2023, according to Google’s vice president of product management, Ruth Kricheli. The update aligns with industry standards for data retention and account deletion, aiming to limit the storage of unused personal information.
Google emphasized the move as a security measure to protect active users from potential threats like phishing scams and account hijacking. Dormant Gmail accounts are particularly susceptible to hacking risks, as they might use compromised passwords from previous security breaches available on the dark web.
Users at risk of deletion will receive multiple notifications, including emails sent to associated recovery addresses, before any action is taken. The purpose of these notifications is to safeguard private information and prevent unauthorized access, even if users are no longer actively using Google’s services.
The company also noted that losing access to a Gmail account could impact users’ ability to use other online platforms and services associated with that email address. To keep an account active and avoid deletion, Google users are advised to perform activities such as opening or sending emails, using Google Drive, downloading an app from the Google Play Store, or making a Google Search while logged in.
Google assured that Gmail accounts that have posted videos on YouTube are exempt from deletion, regardless of their last activity date.