Google’s Inactive Account Manager Review

Posted on April 13, 2013 12:02 pm

I used to ask myself what will happens to Contador Harrison Gmail, YouTube and Google+ accounts when I die. My Facebook, Twitter and other social media accounts I have two trusted lieutenants who will handle the post ‘Contador Harrison era’ if it happens soon. However, because of Google policy, I was worried about the digital history I could leave behind. Luckily, Google new feature called the Inactive Account Manager has partially ended my worries. Am delighted Google has now allowed users just like me to determine what happens to my Google accounts after I depart this world. The same would apply if I end the use of my Google account.Inactive Account Manager page is accessible from the Google account settings page and enables user to delete their data completely or alternatively share it with up to 10 trusted contacts.

I can imagine my close friends and family members accessing my confidential Google Drive documents, blog posts that I have been blogging, emails from friends and families on my Gmail and YouTube uploads. Google will pronounce the user dead after setting a time-out period before deletion of the account, all traces of it and notifying the trustees. As a user, one 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. When that time passes, user chosen trusted contacts will receive a 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. This means that in my digital afterlife, I don’t die, but my account is deleted. And Contador Harrison have the right to be forgotten and I consider that right so fundamental and I see no reason why it shouldn’t need to be formalized. Using Inactive Account Manager, I can decide if and when my account is treated as inactive, what happens with my data and who will be notified.

Google’s Inactive Account Manager main features

Alert Me: Is a feature that enables Inactive Account Manager to alert you via e-mail or text message one month before the timeout period ends. You will need to fill in the telephone and e-mail address.

The Timeout period: This is the time after which your account can be classed as inactive. The timeout period starts with your last signed-in activity on Google. You have an option of choosing three, six, nine or 12 months.

Notify contacts: This is where user can add up to 10 trusted friends or family members who should be notified that your account is inactive. There is also an option which the user can share data with contacts.

Optionally delete data: If as a user you do not want to share your data, you can instruct Google to delete your account once all requested actions have been completed. This means data associated with users products will be deleted. This includes publicly shared data like YouTube videos, Google+ posts or blogs on Blogger.

There are several unclear issues that Google has largely ignored. For example I do not know exactly what “delete” means in this context as I cannot tell if it is a genuine deletion of everything Google has on a user or does it is public details of someone’s account being invisible. What I mean with invisible is that users profiles will be hidden or lets say Gmail address will bounce should someone send email to such a user account but Google will hang on to all the actual data. As Contador Harrison, I would want control over my data now, not so much after I am dead. I know all too well that mYfinal.com offers a very comprehensive way to create an e-Legacy. If you have no idea, mYfinal.com allows members to document for family and friends exactly how they want their affairs handled. Users have complete control over who has access to the site.

Inactive Account Manager does not explain the distribution of houses, pets, music collection, artwork, jewelry, land, cars and others as well. The same cannot document items with photos and explain why they’re leaving specific things to each person. Also, I did not see any offer how to access bank accounts and, credit card accounts and gain passwords to social media sites to mention but a few. Think of sharing photos, videos, family stories, hopes and dreams with those they care about. There is no compiling personal information that members could have access to in case of a natural disaster. Storing the number to call if a credit card is lost or stolen, or being able to get driver’s license number if it’s not could have been of big benefit but Google simply chose to do what suits their not users needs. Even if I cannot predict my lifespan, I will not be signing up to Inactive Account Manager service very soon

Contador Harrison