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Monday, 15 April 2013

New Google Tool Acts as a Digital Will

Google Users Can Have Accounts Deleted or Data Sent to Loved OneFeatured Article Picture

Google has launched a tool to give its users control over what happens to their digital identities after death.
Death is not something we like to dwell on but, as our lives become increasingly integrated with the digital world, what happens to that data is a legitimate concern — one that Google is addressing head on with its Inactive Account Manager.
The tool is kind of like a will — it tells Google your last wishes for all of your data hosted on its network.
“Not many of us like thinking about death — especially our own,” product manager Andreas Tuerk wrote in a blog post. “But making plans for what happens after you’re gone is really important for the people you leave behind.
“You can tell us what to do with your Gmail messages and data from several other Google services if your account becomes inactive for any reason.”
The first step in the process is to set a “timeout period,” after which your account can be labeled inactive. The timeout period begins with the last time you sign in to your Google account.
Because there are a variety of situations other than death that might prevent you from accessing or using your accounts — such as switching to Bing or Yahoo — Google will send an e-mail or text message to the secondary address you have provided as a reminder before the timeout period ends.
The next step is choosing what will happen to your data once your account officially becomes inactive. You can have your data deleted after three, six, nine or 12 months of inactivity or you can choose to have your data sent to someone you trust.
Data from the following services can be sent to the person you designate: +1s; Blogger; Contacts and Circles; Drive; Gmail; Google+ Profiles, Pages and Streams; Picasa Web Albums; Google Voice and YouTube.
“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,” Tuerk said.
The tool will also benefit Google — the search engine firm will be able to get rid of inactive accounts without complication.

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