Do you have an old Google account that you haven’t used in a long time? You might want to sign in and take a look once every 24 months or so, as Google has announced an update to its policies for inactive accounts. He old politicsIntroduced in 2020 at the same time free unlimited storage for Google Photos ended, it said Google could wipe data stored in accounts that haven’t been touched for at least two years, but a blog post written by product manager Ruth Kricheli He says those accounts could now be deleted entirely.
The new policy won’t go into effect until December of this year at the earliest, so please have some time to remember your old login information or for us to get more details on how this will all work. 9to5Google reports that deleted Gmail addresses will not be available for reuse.
YouTube creators link Rene Ritchie said on Twitter that the policy will not include the removal of any accounts that have uploaded YouTube videos, as some feared that channels posted by people who died or abandoned their accounts would suddenly disappear. Google also updated the blog post announcing its new policy to reflect that, saying“We have no plans to remove accounts with YouTube videos at this time.”
According to Google, account activity is measured based on actions such as reading or sending an email, using Google Drive, watching a YouTube video, downloading an app from the Google Play Store, using Google Search, or using Sign in with Google to sign in to a third-party app or service.
However, those don’t cover common uses for Google accounts, like setting up aliases that forward email to your primary address, and it’s unclear if accounts like those will be on the chopping block. Google specifically mentions that keeping a subscription to something like Google One is a way to stay active, but that’s not something you’d normally do for an alternate account.
When the new policy begins, Kricheli says the company will start with accounts that were created and never touched again and will also send “multiple notifications over the months leading up to deletion” to the address and any attached recovery emails.
Update May 18, 3 pm ET: Updated to take into account the change in Google’s blog post specifying that it currently does not plan to remove accounts with YouTube videos.