What happens to your online Google account data when you are gone? Google aims to let you manage this easily with the release of a new feature called the Inactive Account Manager. This new feature can be accessed at your Google Account settings page and lets you setup a system where you can decide what happens to your digital data once you die or can no longer use your account.
The Inactive Account Manager setup a timeout period ranging from three, six, nine or twelve months of inactivity before your data will be deleted. You will need to provide a mobile phone number or an alternate email first since Google will be alerting you one month before the set timeout period arrives. Aside from deleting your data you can select some of your trusted contacts to receive your data from several Google services.
Here’s the current data that gets shared to your trusted contact once your account has timed out. They will have up to 3 months to download the data starting from the time out period before the data expires.
- Google+ Circles
- Google+ Stream
- Picasa Web Albums
What if the user has already died and has setup his or her Inactive Account Manager but then a family member or a third party wants to access the data? This was answered by a Google spokesperson who said that “when there’s a conflict, we will honor the preference you’ve made in Inactive Account Manager to the extent permitted by law.”
Of course this feature isn’t only triggered by your death. If you have activated this and haven’t checked up on your account for the duration of the timeout period then your data will be deleted.
Google isn’t the only company that is offering this feature. Online storage site SecureSafe allows you to assign several files to be shared to certain individuals. Facebook and Twitter also have their own way of handling personal data when the account holder dies.