Google if you die

Google’s Inactive Account Manager

Google’s Inactive Account Manager

by Jacqui Brauman

Harry and his wife Patricia have been married for 20 years. They are an active young family with three young boys in primary school. Harry is a self-employed online marketing consultant who earns enough that Patricia doesn’t have to work, and also has flexible hours so that he can spend a lot of time with his family. Their family home is full of love and laughter, a lot of rough and tumble activity from the boys, and plenty of outdoor activities.

google's inactive account managerHarry still plays B-grade Australian Rules football on Saturday mornings during the winter season. Despite being very fit for his age, he suffers from a major heart attack during a game and dies in hospital later.

It is such an unexpected tragedy that the whole community, especially the football team, rally around Patricia and the boys. In their grief, they are able to manage by all the support they are shown. There is always someone coming around bringing them food, and doing a bit of housework for them, and making them talk and think about things other than the huge hole in their lives – Harry.

Harry has provided very well for Patricia. The mortgage is paid off, and she has a $500,000 nest egg from his life insurance. But after a few months, she decides that she needs to work, for her own sanity. She decides to do an online course in adult training and education to get her back into the workforce. She diligently starts studying and is on her laptop doing some reading or writing for her course most days. She believes it’s also good that the boys see her doing this.

About six months after Harry died, Patricia gets a surprise email from Google that his account has been inactive for 6 months, so it had triggered the Inactive Account Manager setting that he had recorded. At some stage, when this facility first became available by Google, Harry must have set it up to forward all his Google accounts to Patricia if his account was inactive for 6 months.

Patricia starts getting all his gmail. She now has access to his Google Drive, where he had kept most of his work. All his Contacts are now available to Patricia, and his Google+ Pages and Google+ Photos. She goes through the photos that he had, and there are many of her that she had never seen. He had a lot of family photos that he had taken on his mobile and uploaded into Google+ Photos which she now had access to.

When she was about to close down his Google+ Pages for his business, she pauses. She wondered if she could use his contacts to continue on a similar business. She could provide adult training for small businesses in online marketing. She decided to look through all his work in Google Drive. There were a substantial amount of systems and work flows that he had utilised for himself that she thought she could re-purpose into a course.

She was very grateful that Harry had been so organised – he was organised in the systems he set up in his business, and organised enough to set up Google’s Inactive Account Manager. If he had not authorised her to have access to his accounts and start receiving everything after 6 months, then she would have lost all the photos he had, and all the work he had done. Patricia quietly thanked him, her heart aching, but she realised she had loved the right man who really had looked after her as best he could.

So, active your Google Inactive Account Manager as soon as possible.

Learn more from my book: Death and Social Media.

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