Google has launched a new service to help its users make an online will that dictates what happens to their data after they die – either permanently deleting it, or passing it on to loved ones as a digital inheritance.
Inactive Account Manager lets users of all Google services choose “trusted contacts” who will have access to their data once their account has laid dormant for three, six or 12 months, depending on their preference.
As a final warning before releasing the data, Google will send an email and text message to the user to make sure that they have passed on, and not merely left their accounts inactive.
Alternatively, users can choose to have their data deleted permanently.
Google product manager Andreas Tuerk said, in a blog post announcing the launch : “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.
“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.”
To setup the service you need to visit your Google Account settings page, where you will be able to select options for all of Google’s services, including YouTube, Gmail, Google+ and Picasa Web Albums.
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