Google can now delete your account and data after you kick the bucket

Benjamin Franklin is quoted as saying, "The only things certain in life are death and taxes." The death of anyone has ripple effects on their surrounding family and friends, but it can also serve as an opening for someone to go after content such as emails, pictures and video they may have stored in their online accounts.

Today, Google announced that it is offering a way for people who currently use their online services such as Gmail, YouTube, Blogger and others to delete their account after they make the trip to the pearly gates. In a post on its Public Policy blog, Google called the new feature the Inactive Account Manager, which even they admit is not the best title for the service.

Basically, people can use the manger to tell Google to delete their account and data if it becomes inactive after a set period of time. Users can choose to trigger the account deletion after three, six, nine or 12 months of inactivity. Google will send out an email when it senses that your account is close to the inactive time limit you have set up.

The Inactive Account Manager can also alert any family and friends you choose to designate to get alerts about your Google account if it get close to the deletion time period. You can even set it up so that after you die or become inactive, others can receive data from your Google account. The manager covers Google services like +1s, Blogger, Contacts and Circles, Drive, Gmail, Google+ Profiles, Pages and Streams; Picasa Web Albums; Google Voice and YouTube.

Source: Google | Image via Google

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This would not only help Google build the much needed trust in regards to its data profiling practices but also help reduce junk from their servers.

This is huge. I think they are first out of the gate. Google is impressive in their forward thinking. There are people denied access in the past with different companies and different situations. Here with some simply planning google will insure your digital property is dispersed in the manner you wanted. A digital power of attorney if you will. Thanks google!

"We're spending vast sums of money to store the browsing habits of millions of dead people... people who we can no longer target advertising to, and are now completely useless to us... how can we dump them and increase profits, while making it look like a feature?"

- conversation overheard in a Mountain View, CA cafeteria

Good. Although most sites do notify (or sometimes - bother) people about prolonged absence, rarely anyone wants to delete to preserve their userbase numbers.

Was thinking about this the other day. How to give some trusted family members access to my accounts if I happen to get hit by a truck tomorrow. Would be nice to store all my passwords for all my sites in a general location to make it easier for family to sort thru things after I am gone.

If you don't mind that general location to be "in the cloud" (pun intended ... but man, I prefer saying 'online') then I would suggest LastPass - they would only need to know the master password, and family can be trusted for that (well, most anyway )

I use a tiny program called NOTEPAD.
Although I may update to a passworded excel file to make searching easier.

Before anyone says "security!!!" - the file is named something not connected to passwords and is unlikely to leave my PC.