It’s mid February again. While that time is usually associated with chocolates and sweet nothings, for Google, it’s associated with keeping your online accounts secure, especially your Google account. In celebration of “Safer Internet Day”, Google is encouraging everyone who accesses the Web to take concrete steps to make sure their identities and payment information are safe and sound. And to make that exhortation even more enticing, it is dangling once more the promise of free 2 GB storage on Google Drive to everyone who takes those steps.
The steps aren’t exactly rocket science nor a chore, especially if you’ve done them before. The first requires you to check your recovery information, like a phone number and backup email, in case you forgot your own password or, worse, someone tried changing it without your knowledge. The next step lists all your devices which you have connected to your Google account, mostly smartphones, tablets, and Chrome browsers. If those check out, you can proceed to (optionally) disabling access for less secure apps. And finally, you are given a list of apps, mostly from Android, that have access to your Google account.
If you have gone through these steps before, it should be a breeze to double check the information. After all, this isn’t the first time Google tried to dangle this carrot. February last year, Google made the same offer to help users lock down their Google accounts in exchange for some free online storage space. The step-by-step process also helps ease some of the apprehension involved in security and privacy related settings, especially considering how Google has so many knobs and switches for accounts.
Considering the rampant cases of online account hacking these days, it pays to be a bit wiser when it comes to your account. And since Google is one of those that offer single sign-on experiences, where you can use your Google account to immediately sign up for an unrelated service, it is one of the most targeted online account types next to Facebook and Twitter. That said, users might also take the opportunity to double check those as well.
It doesn’t hurt to offer some free storage space either, even if 2 GB might seem paltry for some heavier users of online storage. It also gives Google Drive some advantage over the likes of Dropbox and Microsoft OneDrive, especially for those who aren’t yet locked into either service. At the moment Google Drive has the highest starting space among the three at 15 GB, especially after Microsoft nixed its free tier for OneDrive.