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Google launches tool to plan digital afterlife

The feature lets users tell Google what to do with their Gmail messages and data from several other Google services if the account becomes inactive.

Google has launched a new feature that let users decide what to do with their digital assets when they die or no longer use their accounts.

The feature is called Inactive Account Manager and is available at the Google Account settings page.

The feature lets users tell Google what to do with their Gmail messages and data from several other Google services if the account becomes inactive for any reason.

For example, you can choose to have your data deleted - after three, six, nine or 12 months of inactivity - to protect your privacy and security.  Or they can choose specific people to receive the data.

Besides Gmail and Google Plus, other services covered include YouTube, the photo-sharing service Picasa and Blogger. Google Inc says it will warn users through a secondary email address or a provided phone number before taking any action.