Google Lets Users Create Will For Their Data

Dennis Faas's picture

Google says it will allow users to decide what should happen to their data after they die. It will allow users to have data deleted or passed on to somebody else.

The new feature is called 'Inactive Account Manager' and is accessed through the main account settings page for your Google account. It's an opt-in service, so it will only take effect if you actively set it up. (Source:

The feature isn't triggered by your death, but by you failing to carry out any actions that require you to be logged into an account, such as checking emails. You can set the feature to activate after three, six, nine, or 12 months of inactivity.

This means it could come into play in other circumstances; for example if you are hit by a debilitating medical condition or imprisoned for a lengthy period without Internet access.

Nominate Your Survivors To Access Your Data

Once this time limit expires, Google can send a message to up to 10 trusted contacts whose details you added to the settings page. The message will include details of how they can log-in to your account. (Source:

You'll also need to provide a phone number so that Google can send provide contacts with a verification code. This means you'll need to keep track of any changes to your contacts' numbers while you are still alive.

You can also opt to have contacts receive a copy of your data as an email attachment.

Alternatively, you can have Google automatically delete the relevant data.

Set Gmail AutoReply For After You Die

The feature works with 10 separate Google services, such as Gmail, Google Voice, and YouTube. You can set different options and contacts for each service. With Gmail you can even send an auto-response message for any incoming emails received after your account is classed as inactive.

As a double layer of protection, Google will send an email alert to any secondary address you have registered (such as a Hotmail account) and a text message to your phone.

You'll get an alert one month before Google takes action, giving you time to log back into your account and cancel the action if you are, in fact, still alive.

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