No matter how old or healthy you are, having a death plan, even a rough one, is a pretty solid idea. The people you leave behind are going to have to figure out what to do with your pets, your stuff, and even your Gmail account.
Making a plan for your email (and your Google Drive, Google Pay, and Photos accounts) is super simple to do and can be part of that plan you handle today, both to help your friends or family out when that time comes and help prevent your accounts from winding up being accessed in a way you don’t want.
The Next Web detailed the process this weekend, reminding me both that it’s an option as well as the fact that it’s an option I should probably take a look at again (and maybe remove an ex from).
First, log into your Google account. If you’re using Chrome, you’re probably already logged in.
Go to your Google Account page. From a basic Google search page, you can get there by clicking on your face in the top right corner.
Once you’re there, search for “Inactive Account Manager” to pull up the settings for your account should you go inactive.
From there, you can decide to have your account self-destruct if it goes inactive for a certain period of time. Three months is the minimum, but the options scale up from there to six months, twelve months, and eighteen months. Before that self-destruct happens there’ll be some SMS notifications letting you know in case, you know, you’re not dead.
On the same page, you can also add up to 10 people you’d like to be notified if your account goes inactive. If you’re like me and have the fear of dying in the bathtub and no one noticing, this can give your pals a heads-up there might be a reason you’re not returning their calls. You can also decide to grant them access to your accounts in some form if you’d like.
Planning for your own death is obviously not something we’re all looking forward to. Doing something small like setting up a plan for your email and photos; however, can give you a little peace of mind that nothing odd is going to happen to them when that day comes.
This article has been updated since its original publication.
Big tech companies have become incredibly efficient and effective at collecting data from us. Over the last few years regulators have been playing catch up and establishing laws and rules to protect us and that's forced those tech businesses to provide new tools so we have a better understanding of what data is being stockpiled and some control over that collection. Google is adding some new options that will automatically erase, at set intervals, the data it collects from you.