Google removes inactive accounts
3 mins read

Google removes inactive accounts

Google has updated its inactivity policy for personal Google accounts.

It’s important to note how this can impact business logs when using a Google account.

Read on to understand the new policy and any actions you should take.

Policy update explained

According to the policy, accounts that have not been used or logged in for two years are considered an “inactive account”.

Why is that important?

The updated inactive account policy allows Google to delete the account and all of its content. This can include:

  • gmail
  • Documents
  • drive
  • Meet
  • calendar
  • youtube
  • google photos

It’s important to note that the policy change only affects personal Google Accounts. Any accounts used for businesses or organizations are unaffected.

Although the policy takes effect immediately, Google will not delete inactive accounts until December 2023.

Google will start deleting accounts created and never used before moving on to other inactive accounts.

Google also pointed out that multiple notification emails would be sent to both the account email address and the recovery email address.

Why the change?

Online security threats continue to be a major concern. While Google invests in technology to protect against account disclosure or phishing scams, nothing is completely secure.

Accounts that have been inactive for a long time are more vulnerable to compromise or hijacking. According to Google, these types of funds are more likely to be compromised when:

  • Old or reused passwords were used
  • Two-factor authentication has not been set up
  • Fewer security controls by the account holder

With the policy change, Google will begin deleting inactive accounts to reduce the risk of a user’s account being compromised.

In addition, deleting inactive accounts reduces the amount of personal information Google stores about users, further protecting individuals.

So what counts as an active account?

Google considers an account active when one of the following actions is taken:

  • Read or send an email from Gmail
  • Use of Google Drive
  • Watch YouTube Videos
  • Download an app from the Google Play Store
  • Using Google Search (while signed into a Google Account)
  • Sign in to a third-party app using Sign in with Google.

What companies need to know

Many marketers set up Google accounts to link third-party tools like Looker Studio or other reporting tools to an account. These accounts may not be set up as business accounts, so this policy update is important.

Here are some helpful tips marketers can implement now to ensure a Google account stays active:

  • Carry out an inventory of all shared Google accounts used and document them (especially for agencies).
  • Sign in to any Google account and set up two-factor authentication
  • Document the dedicated recovery email set up for each account
  • Make sure all account settings are up to date

This ensures that all the necessary information is in place, especially when there is the turnover of a company or agency. The accounts can be used over the long term and reduce the impact of setting up new accounts due to the lack of common internal information.

Summary

A standard process and documentation for accounts is critical to workplace security (and privacy).

Reduce the risk of having an inactive account, or worse, a compromised account, by taking the steps above to ensure all relevant Google accounts remain active and secure.


Featured image: Iana Alter/Shutterstock