Google manages your digital afterlife

Inactive Account Manager ensures your information is deleted once you die

Google manages your digital afterlife

The death of a loved one can be hard on families and the constant reminder of an inactive social networking account or even worse, a hacked email account, can bring unneeded pain. While social networks such as Facebook require in-depth records of a death, Google has implemented a new feature which allows the user to choose when their information is deleted, or when a next of kin is given access to the account.

Google’s new ‘Inactive Account Manager’ allows users to set a timeout period, after which the account will be classed as inactive. After this occurs, the user will be sent a text message and email to their secondary email address to notify them of the inactive status. After a set period of time, depending on the settings selected by the user, the account is either deleted or the notify contacts protocol is initiated, whereby from one up to ten email addresses are alerted that the user is no longer active and given access to the account.

When setting up the ‘next of kin’ contact, you are asked to make a personalised message. I found this stage a little awkward, but if something should happen which causes my early death, I hope my brother finds my message “This is your brother contacting you from beyond the grave. Help, mum is up here too.” and account instructions a little humorous on what would, most probably, be the anniversary of my death.

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