Plan your digital afterlife with Inactive Account Manager

Thursday, April 11, 2013 | 11:33 AM


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. 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.

The feature is called Inactive Account Manager — not a great name, we know — and you’ll find it on your Google Account settings page. You can tell us what to do with your Gmail messages and data from several other Google services if your account becomes inactive for any reason.

For example, you can choose to have your data deleted — after three, six, nine or 12 months of inactivity. Or you can select trusted contacts to receive data from some or all of the following services: +1s; Blogger; Contacts and Circles; Drive; Gmail; Google+ Profiles, Pages and Streams; Picasa Web Albums; Google Voice and YouTube. Before our systems take any action, we’ll first warn you by sending a text message to your cellphone and email to the secondary address you’ve provided.

We hope that this new feature will enable you to plan your digital afterlife — in a way that protects your privacy and security — and make life easier for your loved ones after you’re gone.

  

Posted by Andreas Tuerk, Product Manager

20 comments:

Lyndon NA said...

I know that 12 months seems like a long time ... but illness etc. can equate to that time.

Would it not be possible to assign a 2-step approach?

Define period 1 : when that is reached, suspend the accounts/hide the details/archive the data.
Define period 2 : once this has been reached, then take the prescribed actions (such as release or delete etc.)

I say this, as there are likely to be a few instances when/where stuff is released/deleted ... yet the person is still alive, and is going to lose out after the 12 months or so.

Debra Schroer said...

This is so important! You should be able to something to a genealogy page as well, so that when ancestors are seeking you, they will find about who you were, where you lived, what you liked, etc. Nicely done, really! Bravo!

Peter Harris said...

something I am trying to do now

ANDON said...

I would like to be able to take the actions after 3 or more years of inactivity. 12 months... well, you could be in jail, or you could be on a long vacation, etc.

Behnam Esfahbod said...

When "adding trusted contact" you ask user to write a message to a trusted person, but it's not clear if you send the message right away, or after the account is timed out.

Tom said...

I think this sounds great, but I'm on Google Apps which is not supported.

I realize there are some other considerations with Google Apps accounts, but I hope you will find a way to extend this new feature to those users.

tosommerfugle said...

What if I mainly want to leave a blog (not a diary-style personal blog) for any interested future readers?

I'd like it to be preserved, like a book, but probably closed for comments. Other account data would probably be a good candidate for deletion.

khairy_roket said...

nice

Tengo Duende said...

This is a truly excellent, sensitive & proactive step. Previous comments do highlight areas where it might be improved but as it has only just been rolled out no doubt it can only improve & mature with input and experience. Full marks to Google for the release of such a forward looking approach to users virtual identities. When we now have so much invested in their on-line lives it's time that the legacy issues after our physical demise was taken seriously.

kimmi finster said...

i like this

Candra Adi Putra said...

honesty, last month i get this idea, and google implement this idea first. but you know, it would be great if every pieace of data in every social media or webapp have this fitur

ocdtrekkie said...

But how granular is it? The example I just came up with for my post was... what if you want to leave the wife your kid's photos, but not the photos of your mistress in various stages of undress.

For example.

ario said...

This is more important than a will in some ways. It's an incredible feature that all sites with personal data should provide.

phyo kyoe said...

Hi

phyo kyoe said...

Hi

Chris Pick said...

This would be great if we could do this on Hosted App Accounts.

"You are trying to access Inactive Account Manager from a Google Apps Account. Inactive Account Manager is only available for Google Accounts."

Vijay Sankar said...

This is a great idea

J.T. said...

Great idea however please let me share a horrid experience with the death of my 14 year old daughter. A RIP page was greated by some of her friends. There is a hacker from Canada named "The Bill Wagnor Crew" that gets on facebook and you tube and attacks teens very triple x style. Prior to his capture (he happen to be in Ohio when he started in on my daughter) he wore a mask and called himself" the sinner". Upon his release he return to Canada and came out legally but still continues to do this. I have had to change my phone number and get a tablet and can't sync my tablet to my smartphone. This is a very real problem and when researched, he has done this to many numerous families and articles have been written on him in CNN. My purpose in telling this story is to make families aware. We need to make alias and catch this sicko.

Trevor Cunningham said...

Is this service going to last? Or will it be dropped like others too?

Marie Jones said...

Content is King, and a well structured website with easy to find information is key to building a great website, although it helps to use Google Adwords, I have also been using Free Facebook Likes to increase my traffic, it is free and many of your readers may like it!

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