What Happens to Your Email When You Die? Google’s Got a Solution
There are a lot of ways people can prepare for death. With things like life insurance and wills you can make sure your loved ones are taken care of, or at least not fighting over your stuff, but what happens to your virtual stuff when you die? Should your Google Docs live on even after you’re gone, or should they self destruct and join you in the sweet hereafter? Now with Google’s Inactive Account Manager, you can decide what happens to your digital life after your corporeal one is over.
The new settings were announced today on a Google Public Policy Blog post by product manager Andreas Tuerik. In the post, Tuerik admits that “Inactive Account Manager” is not a great name, but it’s probably better than calling them simply “Death Settings.”
The way the
Death Settings Inactive Account Manager works is pretty simple: Tell Google what to do with your information after you’re dead. After your choice of three, six, nine, or twelve months of inactivity, Google can either cremate all of your information by deleting it, or it can send all of your data from just about every Google product to selected and trusted contacts.
Obviously most people get a little creeped out any time they think about their inevitable death, but it’s important to consider. As more and more of our lives happen online, I rather like the idea that we can control what happens to our information after we’re gone. I think I’ll bequeath all my Google information to my friend Dan. That way after I’m dead he can sign in to all my Google accounts and try to convince everyone that I’m an Internet ghost.