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Prepare a digital will for your Google accounts

The company introduces a new tool to let people plan their digital afterlife.


Google doesn't want you worry about what happens to your online self when you leave finally this world -- or just the virtual world.

The company introduced a tool today called the Inactive Account Manager that lets you tell Google what you want done with your data hosted on its network after you die, or stop using your account for a long period of time. Think of it as an automated will for your digital assets.

"Not many of us like thinking about death -- especially our own," Product Manager Andreas Tuerk wrote in a blog post. "But making plans for what happens after you're gone is really important for the people you leave behind. So today, we're launching a new feature that makes it easy to tell Google what you want done with your digital assets when you die or can no longer use your account."

That means instructions on what to do with things like your Gmail messages, Google+ profile data, Blogger posts, Drive files, Picasa albums, Google Voice data and YouTube videos. Just pick what data you want retrieved and have Google send it to "trusted contacts." It's not clear how your loved ones will receive all the data from your online Google life.

The settings also lets you choose when Google deletes your data. Pick from three, six, nine or 12 months of inactivity. It's a way to address privacy and security concerns -- scrub away all the photos, videos and messages that users thought would live on the Internet forever -- while letting Google unload inactive accounts with a clear conscience.