Google plans to start deleting accounts that haven't been used in more than two years in a bid to prevent hacking and other security threats.
The tech giant announced the new policy Tuesday, saying "abandoned" accounts often have compromised passwords or lack two-step authentication — making them an easier target for hackers and scammers.
"These accounts are often vulnerable, and once an account is compromised, it can be used for anything from identity theft to a vector for unwanted or even malicious content, like spam," wrote Ruth Kricheli, Google's vice president of product management.
Deleted accounts will also lose content stored on products like Gmail, Google Docs and Google Photos. The new policy only applies to personal accounts, not school or business ones.
Deletions won't start until December at the earliest, with accounts that were created and then never used again going first. Google promised a "slow, careful" rollout including multiple email notifications to inactive accounts and their recovery email addresses.
Account activity includes reading or sending an email, watching a YouTube video, or using Google Search while signed in. If your account might be on the chopping block, Google says saving it will be a quick process — you just need to log in.
"The simplest way to keep a Google Account active is to sign-in at least once every 2 years. If you have signed into your Google Account or any of our services recently, your account is considered active and will not be deleted," Kricheli wrote.
Google announced in 2020 that it would remove content stored on inactive accounts, but not delete the accounts entirely.