Google removes accounts that are inactive for two years due to security push

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Google, which hosts billions of user accounts, said Tuesday it plans to remove accounts that have been inactive for two years. The decision is part of the internet giant’s ongoing efforts to strengthen security measures for its huge user base, the company said.

Starting in December this year, Google will be allowed to delete an account if it hasn’t used any of its various services for two years, the company wrote in a blog post. As part of the account deletion, Google will also delete content the user has stored in Google Workspace, YouTube, and Google Photos.

Google said it will send “multiple notifications” in the months leading up to account deletion and start cleaning with the ones created and never used again. The new inactivity policy also won’t affect business accounts and accounts used by schools, according to Google.

The criteria for maintaining an active account are quite minimal. Activities such as reading or sending an email, using Google Drive, watching a YouTube video, downloading an app from the Google Play Store, logging into a third-party app or service with a Google account account, or doing a Google search while logged in will all be enough to keep an account active.

Google is taking this step to address security vulnerabilities that arise due to dormant accounts, it said. “Our internal analysis shows that abandoned accounts are at least 10x less likely than active accounts to set up 2SV. This means these accounts are often vulnerable, and once compromised, an account can be used for anything from identity theft to a vector for unwanted or even malicious content, such as spam,” the company wrote in the blog post.

Google hasn’t said what it plans to do with the usernames after deleting the dormant accounts. The company’s move follows Twitter CEO Elon Musk who recently announced plans to clean up dormant accounts and recycle the usernames.

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