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Google lets users plan their digital afterlife

Published: April 13, 2013 | 4:27 pm
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(CNA)-Our online lives have become so important that Google just released a feature that enables users to control what happens to their data after they die, Computerworld reports.

Our digital lives have become complex. What we share on Google+, YouTube and Picasa, along with what we store in Google’s cloud storage Drive, isn’t just funny cat videos and pictures of your new haircut.

Today, we might store personal financial information, system backups or important work documents on Drive.

We might even have posted meaningful thoughts or photos on Google+ that we’d want a loved one to have access to. Or maybe there are pictures or videos uploaded that you’d rather your parents didn’t see.

Google is giving you a way to figure out now what you want to happen to all of this information.

“The feature is called Inactive Account Manager  not a great name, we know  and you’ll find it on your Google Account settings page,” wrote Google product manager Andreas Tuerk in a blog post. “You can tell us what to do with your Gmail messages and data from several other Google services if your account becomes inactive for any reason.”

“We hope that this new feature will enable you to plan your digital afterlife — in a way that protects your privacy and security — and make life easier for your loved ones after you’re gone,” he wrote.

Tuerk added that users can choose to have their information deleted after three, six or 12 months of inactivity. They also can name one or more people to receive the data from Google’s various services.

Just in case you’re inactive and not actually dead, Google is set to send you a warning via an email to a secondary address, and a text message to your cellphone.

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