Google’s Inactive Account Manager Reminds Us We Don’t Own the Content We Buy

Few people ever plan to kick the bucket, but there is a high probability that it will happen to all of us at least once. That’s probably why Google announced yesterday that they were offering a new account management tool.

The Inactive Account Manager might have a awful name, but it fills a useful purpose. It’s there to help the digerati to plan for the inevitable. Turn it on, let your account sit for 3 or more months, and this service will email your digital next of kin with access info for your account. Another option is to simply delete the contents of an account unread.

This could be useful, but as I was playing with it today I noticed that some key Google services weren’t included. Let’s see if you can spot them:

google inactive account manager

If you guess that there is nothing for Google Play then you would be correct. Google doesn’t have any way for you to pass along the content you “buy” from them. I suppose that shouldn’t come as a surprise, but it is frustrating to be reminded what little control we have over our purchases.

6348372-shopping-cart-buy-icon-button-blue-glossy-with-shadow-vector[1]That kinda makes the “buy” buttons on so many retail websites ironic, doesn’t it? When it comes to digital content, there is no actual buying going on, and that raises questions as to what the button represents. Are we buying into a myth?

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.


  1. carmen webster buxton12 April, 2013

    How alarmingly practical! I got creeped out when Facebook started recommending a friend to me, and it happened to be someone who had passed away a month before. She had no next of kin, that I know of, so finally I had to block her to make FB stop.

    The only stuff I ever got from Google Play is on my Android phone, so I guess whoever gets the phone gets it.

  2. CJJ13 April, 2013

    Google play does allow you to download purchased items to your computer. At least for music and books (never bought a video). So sure, if you don’t bother, it stays in the cloud and good luck to friends and relatives who want to inherit it.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to top