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Google launches tool to manage 'digital afterlife'

NEW YORK — Google has launched a tool that lets users decide what happens with their email, Google Plus and other accounts after they die — or become inactive online for any other reason.

Called "inactive account manager," the feature lets users of Google's services tell the company what to do with email messages and other data if their account becomes inactive.

For example, Google says, users can choose to delete their data after three, six or 12 months of inactivity. 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., based in Mountain View, Calif., says it will warn users through a secondary email address or a provided phone number before taking any action.

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