Google is allowing users to determine what happens to their account after they leave this mortal coil, or at least abruptly curtail the use of their Google account.
The new Inactive Account Manager page, which is accessible from the Google account settings page, will enable users to delete their data completely or share it with up to 10 trusted contacts.
This will allow friends and family to have access to a user’s Picasa photos, important Google Drive documents, Blogger blog posts, emails from Gmail and YouTube uploads.
Before it pronounces the user dead, Google allows them to set a time-out period before deleting the account, and all traces of it, or notifying the trustees.
Users can choose 3, 6, 9, or 12 months as the timeout period and Google will send a notification to the secondary email address one month before the period is set to expire.
If that time passes, any trusted contacts will receive a personal email explaining that said individual had left them the data, including instructions on how to download it.
The set-up page reads: “What should happen to your photos, emails and documents when you stop using your account? Google puts you in control.
“You might want your data to be shared with a trusted friend or family member, or, you might want your account to be deleted entirely. There are many situations that might prevent you from accessing or using your Google account. Whatever the reason, we give you the option of deciding what happens to your data.
“Using Inactive Account Manager, you can decide if and when your account is treated as inactive, what happens with your data and who is notified.”
Is the Inactive Account Manager something you’ll be setting up, or is contemplating your digital mortality too much for a Thursday evening? Let us know in the comments section below.