Google is asking its users to rack their brains and remember whether they have any old accounts they'd set up in years gone by.
If you're one of them, you might want to think of your login details and check whether there are any important documents you need to recover, as the internet behemoth is warning it'll remove any profiles it deems to be not in use.
In a statement the company issued via email, it wrote: "If your account is considered inactive, we will send several reminder emails to both you and your recovery emails (if any have been provided) before we take any action or delete any account content. These reminder emails will go out at least 8 months before any action is taken on your account."
The company's policy means that any accounts that have been inactive for two years or more will be deleted and the associated Gmail address will be removed also. This is in accordance with security concerns that come with abandoned accounts as they are more susceptible to cyber attacks.
Without the two-step authentication that most active accounts will now have set up, cyber hackers are more likely to gain access to these accounts and spread malware or access personal information like banking details.
The new policy, which was announced in May 2023, will come into effect at the end of the year with inactive accounts being deleted in December 2023.
The deletion shouldn't come as a shock however, as Google will have sent multiple notifications to those with accounts eligible, allowing them the opportunity to log in and keep their account active.
Google recommend that users sign in at least once every two years and enable two-factor authentication to help keep their accounts active and secure.
The update will also apply to vacant accounts of deceased users as well, with Google giving immediate family members and representatives the option to close the account themselves. Content from these accounts can also be shared with family members, in certain circumstances.
Google will begin sending notifications out at least eight months before the accounts are taken down. But those concerned can use the 'Inactive Account Manager' to decide what happens with their data and account when it's left inactive for up to 18 months.
"People want the products and services they use online to be safe and secure," Vice President of Google Ruth Kricheli wrote on the company's blog, adding: "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."
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