It seems like the days of Google giving out free storage like delicious candy are well and truly over. The company has announced that dormant personal Google accounts will soon be deleted, in a blow to anyone who opens up a new account every time they forgot the password to their last one.
Granted, Google doesn’t actually mention an intolerance of freeloading in the blog post accompanying the news. It instead chooses to paint it as a security issue. Dormant accounts, y’see, are more than ten times less likely to have two-factor authentication enabled.
“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,” writes Ruth Kricheli, Google’s VP of Product Management in a blog post.
The return of free space must be nice though. After all, this is a company that went from offering unlimited uploads to Google Photos in 2015 to capping it to 15GB six years later.
Google is keen to stress that it won’t be burning old accounts right away with a December start date in mind. And all you need to do to stop the Google-branded wrecking ball is to log in every two years, which doesn’t sound too unreasonable. Alternatively, you can pay for a Google subscription of some kind, if you’re truly too lazy to look at your account every 17,520 hours.
Also, remember that your Google account encompasses an awful lot of products, so there are myriad ways you could be flagging your use to the company, from checking your email to watching a video on YouTube (while logged in). Using Google Drive, downloading an app from the Google Play Store, using Google Search and more also qualify.
Google Photos, however, is considered different for some reason — probably because Google would really like that space back please. “You will need to specifically sign in to Google Photos every two years to be considered active which will ensure your photos and other content are not deleted,” Kricheli writes.
For both, Google says that it will send “multiple notifications” to accounts leading up to the deletion… which obviously won’t do much if they’re not logged in. Sort of like repeatedly ringing a doorbell before tearing down a derelict building. For that reason, Google will also contact the recovery email address — if one has been provided.
It’s not unreasonable for Google to do all of this, of course. But it does show the limits of giving away so much for free. Even a company with Google’s deep pockets has limits.
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