Thoughts, information and reflections about technology

A deadman’s switch for google. – Allow someone access if you no longer check into google.

Google can be a significant portion of someone’s life. If a person dies or becomes disabled, the information in their account might be lost forever. It is possible to set google so that it will allow access for selected individuals if you stop checking into your account.

The concept of a deadman’s switch is that if a user fails to check in regularly, then some action will be taken. In the case of Google, users you select will be notified and granted access if you don’t check in within a set timeframe.

Google inactive account manager
JanBaby / Pixabay

Google offers a lot of services. Some examples of services where you might want to make sure someone has access are:

  • GMail – This would give someone access to all of your email including previously sent and received emails. This will also allow for password resets for many applications. 
  • Contacts – This will allow access to the person’s contacts. If someone is running a business, this could be invaluable. It would also have contact information for lawyers, accountants, doctors and more. 
  • Calendar – A lot depends on how the person uses the calendar. In some cases, this can show pending bills, renewals and other time sensitive information
  • Google Drive – Again, this depends on how the user chooses to implement this feature. Many people will keep critical documents on google drive such as legal information, budgets, scanned documents and more. 
  • Google Photos – Very few Android users make copies of their Google Photos. This could allow you to recover priceless family memories. 

There are numerous other Google tools that can be assigned. Which ones you assign and who you assign them to is a matter of personal preferences and needs. 

You can access the settings here or search google for “Google Inactive Account Manager”

You have the options of allowing someone access to your account if you don’t check in within a set time. The minimum timeframe was three months. As someone who uses Google daily, I’d like to see that set to one month.

You also have the option of completely deleting your account if you fail to check in. That, in my opinion, is a dangerous option.

We like to think of ourselves as immortal but sadly that is never the case. With this option, your relatives or significant others will be able to access photos, email or whatever you select. (I didn’t allow access to my search history)

To set up the inactive account manager:

  1. go to the inactive account manager page.
  2. Determine what period of inactivity will trigger action on the account.
  3. Add users who will be notified and granted access. You can specify that certain users get access to specific Google tools.For example you might want one person to have access to google photos and another to google analytics.  Choose carefully. 
  4. Make sure your contact information is good. You will get reminders that you set up your inactive account actions. 



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One Response to A deadman’s switch for google. – Allow someone access if you no longer check into google.

  • Pingback: Have Google do a quick security check on your Google account with the Google Security Check - Chris Mendla Tech

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