They’re inevitable: death and an online presence. And that online presence has to be taken care of after you die.
Google today launched the Inactive Account Manager, a feature that allows users to determine what happens to their Gmail, photos on Picasa and more — stuff the company calls your “digital assets” — after you become “inactive.” The tool, which you can find in your Google account settings, lets you choose to have your data deleted after a certain amount of time, or have it forwarded to loved ones. And lest someone else gets a hold of your Google credentials, Google will send you a confirmation text message and email before proceeding with what could be a drastic action — if in fact you are still breathing and may want to post on Google+ or upload a video to YouTube.
The new feature from Google is the latest among other online services that address the digital afterlife. In the fall, the Merc’s Brandon Bailey wrote about online memorials and other offerings to preserve people’s digital presences. He also mentioned digital lockers, which let users transfer passwords and more after they die.
Illustration by Jeff Durham/BANG archives