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Online social profiles typically do not offer enough customizability to help users prepare for death. Of course, you can trust Google to pick up the gauntlet: the Inactive Account Manager is a brand new Google account feature that can help you keep your data out of the wrong hands when you die Your Last Email & Testament - What Happens To Your Data When You Die? Your Last Email & Testament - What Happens To Your Data When You Die? I know it's a morbid subject, but the reality is that we live in a virtually immortal society. While our bodies may cease to exist, our virtual profiles go on appearing in emails, automatic notifications,... Read More .

In summary, the Inactive Account Manager allows you to tell Google what to do with your information after your account has been unused for a certain period of time. With that said, Google really hasn’t beat around the bush while explaining the true purpose of this new feature.

“Not many of us like thinking about death — especially our own. But making plans for what happens after you’re gone is really important for the people you leave behind,” said a Google Public Policy Blog post. “So today, we’re launching a new feature that makes it easy to tell Google what you want done with your digital assets when you die or can no longer use your account.”

While not yet available for Google Apps, regular users can determine the fate of their Gmail messages and data from other Google services if their account becomes inactive for three, six, or 12 months. Possible actions include the total deletion of information, or even the ability to have it sent to trusted contacts who are connected to your Google account’s services. As a built-in safety feature, Google will send an email or a text message to the user before the timeout period ends.

Do you think the Inactive Account Manager is a good idea? Will you make use of it?

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Source: Google Public Policy Blog

  1. Basher Khan
    April 18, 2013 at 6:02 am

    Very good idea!

  2. Marianne Martin
    April 17, 2013 at 6:36 pm

    I do think this is a good idea. It is also smart on googles part. We don't know what the future holds and this is one way for a clean-up to be done.

  3. frank
    April 17, 2013 at 5:31 am

    i think that you should spend your efforts trying to make it hard for google to collect data on you in the first place.

    step 1 i think would be.. not having a gmail account. or using chrome, android, or any other google products.

    second set firefox as default browser, and install add-on 'Ghostery' (blocks trackers) and install add-on NoScript (blocks scripts)

    thirdly..set homepage to

    fourthly... get smart in general!

    power to the people!

  4. John Jameson
    April 15, 2013 at 3:55 pm

    Pretty Cool:)

  5. John Jameson
    April 15, 2013 at 3:54 pm

    I Suppose thats cool, but most elderly or seriously ill people probably won't use
    computers. But that is still a cool thing:)

    • Joshua Lockhart
      April 16, 2013 at 2:22 am

      John, you'll end up being an elderly person eventually! It's just this generation.

  6. Lisa Santika Onggrid
    April 15, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    Yes it's a good idea,although it's much more reassuring if they really close the account and delete your data.

  7. Robert L
    April 14, 2013 at 6:27 pm

    what if you dont use google for some time, then your stuff gets deleted.

    • Lisa Santika Onggrid
      April 15, 2013 at 12:53 pm

      Set a reasonable timeout period

  8. Scott M
    April 13, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    I wish all of the social site service providers would be considering this.I would also like to see ITunes and other programs in which we purchase songs or other content begin to think of how to pass our purchased items on when we pass.I can leave my books and LP collection but what about the online purchases.

  9. ReadandShare
    April 12, 2013 at 5:33 pm

    Imagine setting this up and then forgetting about it.... and after 3 (or whatever) months of inactivity -- your family and friends suddenly get your "goodbye forever" email!! Oops...

    • John G.
      April 12, 2013 at 8:36 pm

      Or worse, you are in a serious accident that results in you being in a coma for four months and you had the timeout period set to 3 months!

      I truly like the idea and will consider using it. However, one of the things I will need to consider is all of my other accounts that are non-google. Will it really matter just having one account/service time out when all my other digital assets are still "active"?

      • Muz RC
        April 14, 2013 at 1:17 pm

        you can set it to one year...

    • Lisa Santika Onggrid
      April 15, 2013 at 12:53 pm

      I was just about to say that. Haha. I guess you have to set quite a lengthy timeout time.

    • Joshua Lockhart
      April 16, 2013 at 2:21 am

      Realistically, you'll log into your Google account pretty often if you're a regular user. But if you ever decided to switch to a different service...

  10. Alan Wade
    April 12, 2013 at 4:01 pm

    When I die I am going to leave all data along with my bills to my wife!
    Google can do what they want but the wife gets it all!

  11. Zhong J
    April 12, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    If deleting the accounts could free some server space then please do so. If not, then I honestly don't get the idea of why people need to remove their inactive account if they are dead. Some friends or family regards this matter as a priority that they set themselves in. The body will be buried or cremated in reality but people could still reuse their account for other purposes. For example, if Maria passed away, and her email account remain active, it still can be used by someone either from a friend or relative. In the internet, there's only memoir of their dear closed ones but no official tombstone. I'm sure it affects reality more than the virtual world.

  12. Bro
    April 12, 2013 at 2:25 pm

    Pretty cool of google to do that if you ask me, but I would really love to see a service that will transfer all accounts of music, games, photos, ect to friends or family members when I die. I have a lot of money tied into Steam alone that I don't want to have thrown away or wasted when it would take less than a minute to transfer it to someone else's account. Digital goods cost money just like physical goods, so why not allow us to pass it down to friends or family? It's a money thing, I know, but I would love for it to be an option.

    • Joshua Lockhart
      April 16, 2013 at 2:20 am

      Boom. Exactly.

  13. Ajarn Donald
    April 12, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    Who the hell even cares what happens to your data once you've kicked the bucket? Now come to think more about this I think it's a great idea.

    • macwitty
      April 13, 2013 at 7:19 am

      Agree, you've starring in your own soap opera, but not much more than a background actor in others

      • Lisa Santika Onggrid
        April 15, 2013 at 12:51 pm

        Maybe you store family-related files in your account. It makes sense to send it to another family member to curate rather than let them be deleted.
        By the way, I really like that sentence. That's what I imagine my life is.

    • Frederic
      April 15, 2013 at 4:34 pm

      Imagine you were murdered, and your mail contains importan information about the responsible, would be great for the investigation (I put this as a vague example).

      • Joshua Lockhart
        April 16, 2013 at 2:20 am

        Seems like you've thought about this a little too much, Frederic. : )

        • Frederic
          April 16, 2013 at 4:01 pm

          In fact, in my country there is several cases documented, on which SN's were extremely useful for reaching criminals on cases like that I exposed... no need to think too much...

        • Ajarn Donald
          April 19, 2013 at 12:01 am

          My friend Frederic, is it possible you can give me some more examples such as your credit card information and bank account info as well? I just want to try an experiment. The truth and fact is no matter what Google does (although it is a positive step) or no matter what Facebook doesn't do there will also be an ever growing criminal group looking for ways to beat the system and in far to many cases they are successful.

      • Bala Murugan.R vicky
        April 17, 2013 at 2:36 am

        you thinking too much i think... you have yourself killed by the one who literally sends you a mail that he/she has killed you... seriously.. you are funny.!!!!

  14. dragonmouth
    April 12, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    Is it a "logical" or an actual "physical" delete???

    What about the information/data stored on the zillions of backups Google has been making? How is that going to be purged? Or is that data now the property of Google?

    • Lisa Santika Onggrid
      April 15, 2013 at 12:44 pm

      Good question.

  15. shafk
    April 12, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    It's definatley something that needs to be addressed with all online service providers.
    If I recall facebook have something in place... Was is a memorial page or something?

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