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Google’s Inactive Account Manager

The Inactive Account Manger is a new feature on Google which allows the account holder to specify what happens to their data when their account becomes inactive. The feature allows the user to determine when the account should be considered inactive, who will be contacted when the account becomes inactive, what each of those contacts may download, and finally if the account is to be deleted. This feature was created to allow users to determine what happens to their google data upon their death; to plan their digital afterlife.

The Inactive Account Manager allows a user to set whether his account will be determined to be inactive after 3, 6, 9, or 12 months after his last log-on. A month before the account becomes inactive the user will get an alert. Google requires that a mobile phone number be designated to receive the alert. The user may also have the alert sent to another email address. When the account becomes inactive up to 10 individuals may be designated to have access to the users data. The user can determine for each “trusted contact” what data she may access and download. The user may also set-up for his Gmail account an auto-response that is activated upon the accounts becoming inactive. As a final digital act, the user may have the account deleted.

For more information, including how google determines if you account is not being used see “About Inactive Account Manager.” The site also has information for trusted contacts.

Where is the Inactive Account Manager? Start by clicking settings (picture of a gear). From the drop-down menu choose “Settings.” From the menu bar choose “Accounts and Import.” From the “Change account settings” list click “Other Google Account settings.” Click “Learn more and go to setup” under “Account Management: Control what happens to your account when you stop using Google.”

For information about death and online accounts see, the post Digital Life and Death.

NOTE: This feature is not available on our case Google accounts.