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Google unveils Inactive Account Manager to handle data after inactivity periods or death

Google unveiled a new feature for Google accounts, the Inactive Account Manager which will help you control what happens to your data when your account goes inactive.
April 11, 2013
Google Privacy

As the the digital age pushes users more and more towards cloud computing, privacy and security are becoming increasingly important. For the most part, people are generally accepting of companies like Google using their personal data while they are actively using their accounts. However, users are becoming more and more concerned about what happens to their data when they are no longer using it.

Google has just released a way to solve these issues and hopefully, ease people’s concerns over keeping their digital data private and secure. With its new Inactive Account Manager, Google lets the user control exactly what happens to his or her data should the account no longer be needed. Google does not care why the account is inactive, which means it could be a result of a death or simply due to the fact that a person no longer wishes to use the Google account.


Google is always under the spotlight when it comes to privacy. This is because the company has tons of data on its users and everyone is fully aware of what can happen if it is used incorrectly. While the company has recently announced that its Privacy Director is moving on, it is clear that Google’s strive to making its users more secure is not.

The first step is to determine a time frame for Google to monitor inactivity. You can set up a period of three, six, nine, or twelve months where, if your account is not used during this period of time, Google will consider it permanently inactive. Once, that time limit is reached, you can either have your data permanently deleted, or transferred to a trusted contact. Before this actually happens, Google will try to contact you via secondary email or text message. This ensures that your data doesn’t accidentally get transferred or deleted.

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As of right now, most of your stored data will be deleted or transferred. This includes data from your Blogger, Contacts, Drive, Picasa, Google Voice, and YouTube. In addition, all of your Google+ data like Circles, Pages, Streams, and +1s will be included. It is important to stress that if you choose to have your data transferred, the person will not be able to actually access your account, which will prevent the recipient from impersonating you.

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This new service may require some users to make a tough decision regarding friends and family. Google will honor your pre-determined wishes no matter what, as long it is within the limits of the law. This means that if your inactivity is a result of death and you’ve selected to have all of your data deleted, then friends and family members will not be able to obtain anything from Google.

Google’s take on a user’s death or the simple desire to leave is significantly different than other companies. As you may or may not be aware, companies such as Facebook and Twitter do not have an easy method of handling this issue. Neither company will hand user data over any person but the user. This can provide problems because it may keep friends and family from accessing important pictures or emails that would help “memorialize” the deceased. Regardless, Google’s latest service is absolutely essential in keeping users comfortable in the rapidly progressing digital world.