updated 03:12 pm EDT, Thu April 11, 2013
Data can be deleted, shared if user fails to log in after period of time
Google has made a way for people to manage how data inside their Google account can be viewed by others or deleted after their death. The Inactive Account Manager can be set up to automatically hand over data from Google-powered services to specific individuals if a user defined time limit between account log-ins has elapsed.
Users can opt for a period of three, six, nine, or twelve months as a time limit, with Google sending reminders to log back in one month before time runs out, states the Google Public Policy blog. At that point, data for all accounts can be wiped from Google's servers, or alternately, trusted contacts can be handed the data instead. The recipient will receive just the data, not access to the account, blocking the chance of anyone acting upon the missing or dead user's behalf.
Data set to be handed to another user can be pulled from Blogger, Google Drive, Gmail, Google+ Profiles, Pages, Streams, Picasa Web Albums, Google Voice, and YouTube.
Google's Inactive Account Manager appears to be a more thought-out method of dealing with a user's death than some other services. Facebook provides a form to request the memorialization of a deceased user's account, which freezes the account from any further updates, while Twitter can deactivate an account after receiving a large amount of proof through the mail or a fax number.