Google Inactive Account Manager

It may not be something that many of us pay attention to, but what happens to all the data tied to our online accounts once we’re no longer around? As more of our data lives online, it’s a genuine concern that Google wants to address.

The company has released a new tool, called the “Inactive Account Manager”, that allows users to control what happens to their data when they die. The tool can also be used to remind users of dormant accounts that they’ve forgotten about and may want to close. Users can set a period of three, six, nine or 12 months to be notified if an account has been inactive with no log-ins.

Up to 10 friends or family members can be added to a contact list and given permission to download Gmail messages and data from other Google services including Blogger, Contacts and Circles, Drive, Pages and Streams, Google Voice, Google+ profiles, Picasa and YouTube, as well as all +1 history from across the web.

Contacts will be notified with a custom-written email, but before sharing any of a user’s data, Google will warn them via a text message or an email to a secondary address to give them one last chance to prove they still have a pulse.

Users can also configure the service to, instead, automatically delete their data after a period of inactivity.
It’s important to note that Google won’t give out the account password to any contact; just the data specified. This means other people won’t be able to send emails or post things online on their behalf.

According to Google, it’s designed so users can plan your digital afterlife in a way that protects their privacy and security.

The Inactive Account Manager is available in Google account settings, or directly at https://www.google.com/settings/account/inactive

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