Death is a subject that no one likes to discuss – be it that of a family member or our own. Unfortunately, it's a part of life that we'll all have to deal with at one point or another. When it comes to preparing for your own death, however, what's left behind in the digital space is often overlooked. Considering our digital life is becoming such an important part of who we are and the legacy we leave behind, a simple way to manage what should happen to our data in the event our passing is quickly becoming requisite.


Thankfully, Google has unveiled the Inactive Account Manager, a service that looks to provide just that. Think of IAM as a digital will of sorts – it essentially lets Google know what to do with your personal information, including "+1s; Blogger; Contacts and Circles; Drive; Gmail; Google+ Profiles, Pages and Streams; Picasa Web Albums; Google Voice, and YouTube" in the event that you fail to login for an extended period of time. You can opt to either allow trusted contacts to obtain the data or have it completely removed after three, six, nine, or twelve months. Don't worry, though – Google will send you an email and a text message before the data is deleted or turned over to your designated contact (your digital beneficiary, if you will), just in case you're still alive and just haven't logged into your account in a while. 

Having recently faced the death of someone close to me, this is something that has been on my mind fairly often as of late – with so much automation in our online lives, sometimes reminders of a loved one's passing is difficult to keep out of sight. I'm glad to see Google take a step towards alleviating a small part of the difficulties that come with death, which protects both the living and the deceased.

To set your Inactive Account Manager up, head here.

via Google Public Policy Blog

Cameron Summerson
Cameron is a self-made geek, Android enthusiast, horror movie fanatic, musician, and cyclist. When he's not pounding keys here at AP, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, plucking away on the 6-string, spinning on the streets, or watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on repeat.

  • Simon Boulet

    I wonder how much data Google hold for account that have not been touched for years because the users is dead.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Shinakuma George Millhouse

    If I am dead...I dont think I am too worried about what is left on the internet lol. That would be the least of my problems..the first being, I am dead.

    • QwietStorm


    • Cherokee4Life

      i know your being silly... to which I say that was funny :)

      It's not for you really, for instance people who save passwords for Bank Accounts in their Chrome/Google account or you e-mail. It is to help the people who are left picking up the pieces after you have passed away. Since I just lost someone close too, and am watching my father try to figure out how to handle everything as the executive of the will, this would have helped a lot.

      • Matthew Fry

        Not only that, but it's like a journal- Your loved ones get to see your communications with other people. They get an intimate view of how you acted when they weren't around. They also get the ability to contact your friends across the Internet to inform them of your fate. I have a lot of friends I don't talk to very often but I still want them to know if I died. It's a great idea.

  • Mark LaFlamme

    Can it also erase the contents of that special folder on my hard drive? That would be helpful, thanks.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Cameron Summerson

      If that special folder happens to part of Drive, I think that actually might be a possibility.

      Good guy Google.

      • Sam Hollis

        Well, when something is deleted from Drive, it just gets moved to the recycle bin. Not actually deleted. Still there and can be restored.

        • http://twitter.com/Dave_BG Dave Bg

          First thing i do after installing windows is disabling the recycle bin and removing the icon.

    • JG

      Going off of @cameronsummerson:disqus 's suggestion, if the contents of this "special" folder are not stored on Drive, you could always create a scheduled task (like how you can set your computer to automatically defrag every Thursday at 8). Have it execute a small script that'll check to see if there's data in your local Drive folder. If the folder is empty 'cause Google deleted everything, then the script automatically trashes everything in your special folder(s). And, to make @google-283b592875d31b08e21067bf79192b31:disqus happy, empties the trash once it's done.

  • Avrohom Eliezer Friedman

    "Unfortunately, it's a part of life that we'll all have to deal with at one point or another."
    Death isn't really a part of life at all, but wtvr

    • wakeboarder125

      Some people believe that death is not the end of life but a transition into a different life or existence altogether.

      • http://twitter.com/TwinShadow_SH Ryan

        ^ That.

        Different people have different beliefs, so maybe one person thinks that, but another will have a different thought. Some think of death and eventually are reincarnated as a different being. Something the Japanese tend to believe in. (I don't know what religions off the top of my head, but its a little of what I know)

    • Cherokee4Life

      ? it is a part of life... Birth is the beginning part, Living is the middle part, Death is the end part...

      • Mike Reid


        AND, we the living have to deal with the death of others.

  • RitishOemraw

    Cool, since first my google account became so important I always thought this was a good idea, but never thought it would get implemented seeing as how I thought I was the only one to like it.
    Glad to see Google step up here.
    As I do not plan to die anytime soon, I think my Google account will be the storage place for much more valuable information that I think has some value to others when I'm gone (maybe just the photos on g+ or my files on drive)
    Or just to let it delete my account.

    Cool feature!


  • Freak4Dell

    Will it let me set up emails to be sent from the grave? You know, to haunt people that annoyed me while I was alive and whatnot?

    • Sam Hollis

      Yep, you can choose to not share any data with anyone and send them a custom e-mail. I set it up to e-mail my closest friends and my parents, and then it nukes itself.

  • scuttlefield

    Mine is set up. Would you believe that this is the first post-death planning I've ever done. Kinda weird.

  • squiddy20

    Any word on Play Store purchases (such as apps, games, magazine subscriptions, etc) being in IAC as well?

  • Daniel

    Wish we could delete old Android devices from the Play Store.

    • http://petercast.net Peterson Silva

      YES! I never understood why the fuck I couldn't do that. So annoying.

  • letsplaaay

    Being single and life currently fast changing, the only person I could add as a trusted person was my sister. I hope there is nothing too embarrassing in the emails.

  • Luis Augusto Fretes Cuevas

    Biological immortality can't come soon enough.

  • rap

    I think this is a good idea. Digital ownership is a concern to me.