Google has launched a new tool called Inactive Account Manger today, which is designed to help users protect or delete their data in the event that they pass away or can no longer access their account.
It’s very simple and works as you would expect. Users choose a timeout period of either 3 months, 6 months, 9 months or a year, after which point the account becomes inactive.
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To make sure it doesn’t happen by mistake, however, the Inactive Account Manager will send an alert either via email or text message before the deadline passes.
Up to 10 people can be notified that the account is inactive, and the tool can also be setup so that all of the user’s Google-related data is sent to them for safekeeping. These contacts can choose to save any or all of the user’s data from the following services; +1s, Blogger, Contacts and Circles, Drive; Gmail, Google+ Profiles, Pages and Streams, Picasa Web Albums, Google Voice and YouTube.
Once all notified users have chosen which data they would like to keep, the Inactive Account Manager can also be setup to delete the user’s account and corresponding data completely.
Google has described the feature as a way for users to plan their “digital afterlife”. It’s a situation that none of us like to think about, but in the event that something happened, it seems like a pretty robust way of protecting user privacy and security.
The Inactive Account Manager is accessible from the Google Account setting page right now.
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