Digital Underground: Google in the afterlife
Ever wonder what happens to your Google accounts when you die? It’s now up to you.
Jim Kerr is Alberta Venture's web editor. Tech Life will be your source for the buzz behind the latest trends in technology. Get in touch with Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org.
by Jim Kerr
When someone passes away, managing their assets can be an arduous task, but what about that person’s digital assets?
First off – what are digital assets?
The Huffington Post defines them as things like emails, social media communications, digital photos, videos, and any of your online account information. Some of that information would be very sensitive for a variety of reasons, so it stands to reason, whether you’ve given it much thought or not, that you’d want to formulate some kind of plan for it.
Google is out with a new service called the Inactive Account Manager (which they acknowledge isn’t a very flashy name), which allows you to tell them what to do with your data after you die or if your account is inactive for a certain amount of time.
Once you set the service up through the “accounts” page, you can tell Google to either delete all of your data or you can select trusted contacts to receive data from some or all of your accounts if you don’t access them for three, six, nine or 12 months. That brings us to an important point too – when we’re talking about Google, it’s not just Gmail. Things like Google+, Blogger and YouTube are also included under that banner.
The company says it hopes this new feature will “enable you to plan your digital afterlife” and “make life easier for your loved ones after you’re gone.”
It’s a smart move by Google to get on top of this now from a customer service standpoint, but also from a business standpoint because they can wipe data that will never be used again from their servers – and I’m sure they’ve got a lot of it.
Have you given any thought to how you’ll handle your digital assets?