Google and the Digital Afterlife

You may have thought about life after death at some point in your life, but have your thought about your digital life? Don’t worry, Google have it covered.

Last Thursday saw the launch of a new feature – Inactive Account Manager. Not a great name, we know – words taken from Google, not ours – but it will enable to Google users to essentially create a digital will.

Users will be able to set time frames on what to do with their data, if their accounts became inactive. For example, if your account was not used for 6 months, Google can delete your data. Alternatively, users may choose a digital trustee – a friend or family member that can “inherit” their Google service data.

An alert feature has been set up to prevent accounts being deleted when users are still alive. The inactive account manager will alert the user via email or text message just before the set time period ends. The option is also available to alert your trustee.

Google is providing a sense of control for their users. Product Manager, Andreas Tuerkprotects, highlights the feature will “enable you to plan your digital afterlife — in a way that protects your privacy and security — and make life easier for your loved ones after you’re gone.”

These settings will apply to the following services: +1s; Blogger; Contacts and Circles; Drive; Gmail; Google+ Profiles, Pages and Streams; Picasa Web Albums; Google Voice and YouTube.

With the majority of people having multiple social networking platforms broadcasting across the internet, I predict these kinds of settings becoming a standard feature to ensure digital assets can be taken care of when you die.


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