Google has alerted Gmail users to a crucial cleanup initiative that may result in the permanent deletion of emails, documents, photos, and videos within a three-week timeframe. The company, as part of a significant platform update, disclosed plans to delete millions of dormant Gmail accounts in December 2023.
The cleanup specifically targets personal Google accounts inactive for at least two years, with all associated content slated for permanent removal. Google introduced the inactivity policy earlier in the year, set to be enforced in December 2023, aligning it with industry standards for retention and account deletion.
Ruth Kricheli, Google’s Vice President of Product Management, emphasized in a May 2023 blog post that the update aims to enhance account security by minimizing the retention of unused personal information. The move serves as a proactive measure against security threats like phishing scams and account hijacking that could arise from old, unused accounts.
To prevent deletion, Google advises users to engage with their accounts, such as sending or opening emails, utilizing Google Drive, downloading apps from the Play Store, or conducting Google searches while logged in. The company assures affected users of multiple notifications and emphasizes the protection of private information and preventiontheof unauthorized access.
However, it clarifies that Gmail accounts having posted videos on YouTube will be exempt from deletion, irrespective of their last activity date. This exception provides relief for users who may have inactive Gmail accounts but are active contributors on the video-sharing platform.