This topic started off when I read an article about the companies that are now giving their users the options to control their digital assets, should something unexpected and untoward happen to them. With similar thoughts in my mind I started to check on what happens to my Google account? services like Gmail, Search history, Google Plus etc after I stop using it or I no longer exist.
Google has something called Inactive Account Manager that gives you control on how your personal and private data is handled if it is inactive for a long period of time or if you cease to exist. Although, Google does not explicitly mention it I believe this is targeted towards giving you control of what happens to your data after your death rather than long period of inactive use. If you want to close your account, you would anyways do it instantly but death is uncertain! Also it is a painful process for the near and dear ones in accessing digital assets of their loved ones, post their death.
You would first need to enable this service and set a Timeout period. The Timeout period defines the inactive time from the date of last sign-in to any of the Google service. It currently varies from 3 months to 18 months and the choice is yours on the timeout period. You will then need to decide if you want to share your data or delete your data. You can even set up auto responders to the emails received after the inactive period.
If you want to share your data, you can provide contact details of upto 10 of your trusted family and friends who will receive your data. Once the end of timeout period is reached, the actions are initiated based on your choice (share or delete). Here is how it works:
- Decide if you want to share data with Friends and Family or Delete all your Google Services
- You set the Timeout Period (3 months to 18 months)
- Alert Me feature sends a notification once the Timeout Period is approaching
- Notifies the trusted Friends or Family added about the Timeout
- Or your data is deleted
To enable this feature either click on the link above or Go to your Google Account > Data Tools > Inactive Account Manager
Although it is not called as Google Afterlife, I just thought it would be an apt term 🙂
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