We've all wondered about our posthumous digital existence and our emails just sitting there in limbo. However, it looks like Google's Inactive Account Manager can now put your digital soul to rest. The company unveiled a new service that lets users decide how their data should be disposed of after they pass away.
Here's what you need to know about Google's Inactive Account Manager feature:
Your Private Data Can Be Deleted
According to Google's press release, the "Inactive Account Manager" -- which the company admits is "not a great name" -- allows people to tell Google how to dispose of their emails, photos and other data associated with accounts they no longer use, ABC News reports.
But the service is limited to data on Google's services: Gmail, Blogger, Google Drive, Google+, Picasa Web Albums, Google Voice and YouTube. The feature doesn't cover Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or other non-Google services. You'll have to look to Ifidie to determine the destiny of your Facebook photos from St. Patty's Day. And Mardi Gras...
The Google service uses inactivity as the trigger for deletion. Your "digital afterlife" begins after your account has been inactive for a certain amount of time. But you get to pick the timeframe.The timeframes users can choose from are three, six, nine or 12 months. Once your account has been inactive for the chosen amount of time, Google will delete your blog posts, photos, videos and other files
Your Private Data Can Be Passed On
Like Twitter, if you're not interested in an e-cremation plan, Google can let you digitally live on. You can tell Google to forward some or all of your data to up to 10 contacts. You can also include a personal message that will be delivered to contacts with the files. Without this feature, friends and relatives have to make a case to the service provider or the courts to get access to a deceased's users private data.
If you're interested in Google's digital estate planning service, you can check out the Inactive Account Manager and set one up.
- Google releases tool to deal with your data after death (The Washington Post)
- Digital Estate Planning: What to Do About iTunes, eBooks? (FindLaw's Technologist)
- 5 States With 'Facebook After Death"-Type Laws (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
- Digital Estate Planning: The Importance of Giving Access To Online Accounts (FIndLaw's New York Estate Planning)