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Google Lets You Decide What Happens to Your Data After Death


Simple tricks can save lots of email anxiety. (Google)

Google (GOOG)  jumped into the estate planning business Friday with its announcement of its new Inactive Account Manager" tool.

The new tool gives users the option to decide what happens to their data if they die or stop using their account. The feature will control all emails, photos, videos blogs and more associated with an account. The period of inactivity will be between three months and one year, and users can either choose to have their information deleted or sent to up to 10 people after their inactivity.

“Not many of us like thinking about death — especially our own. But making plans for what happens after you’re gone is really important for the people you leave behind. That's why we introduced Inactive Account Manager -- to make it easy for you to tell Google what you want done with your digital assets when you die or can no longer use your account,” a Google spokesperson said in an email to

“We have had a method by which families or representatives can request data stored in the Google Account of a lost loved one. You can read more about it on this Help Center page. This system remains in place. But this new feature lets our users themselves tell us what to do with their Gmail messages and data from several other services if their accounts become inactive for any reason,” the spokesperson says.

Google declined to comment on how many users it has for its account services, and how many have set up their Inactive Account Manager since its release Friday. The service will apply to Gmail, Google+, Picasa, YouTube, Blogger, Google Drive, Google Pages and Google Voice.

Google says it will send users a text message warning before taking any action.

Follow Kate Rogers on Twitter at @KateRogersNews

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