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Google lets users decide what happens to their email after they die

Google is the first major company to let people decide what happens to emails, photographs, blogs and social networks if their account becomes inactive.

Image: AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, file

GOOGLE IS TO let users decide what happens to their data after they die or stop using their account.

In a new feature called Inactive Account Manager, users can choose what happens to their emails, photographs, videos, blogs, social networks and other Google services if their account becomes inactive.

Users can decide to have their data deleted after a certain period of inactivity of between 3 months and one year. They can also choose to have some or all of their data sent to up to ten people they know.

The service applies to Gmail, Google + profiles, Picasa albums, YouTube, Blogger, Google Drive, Google Pages and Google Voice.

“We hope that this new feature will enable you to play your digital afterlife – in a way that protects your privacy and security – and make life easier for your loved ones after you’re gone,” Google said in a blog post.

The issue of what happens to data stored by people after their death has become an issue in recent years as the number of people storing personal information on sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Google has surged.

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The Inactive Account Manager can be accessed from the Google Account settings page. Google says it will warn users by sending a text message and email to a secondary address before its systems take any action.

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