In the aftermath of a death, one of the unfortunate realities is that the departed leaves behind financial accounts, property, documents, and so on, and that person’s heirs or loved ones are left to sort through it all. It can be messy, difficult, and sometimes painful, and the advent of digital accounts with services such as Google
and Facebook have complicated matters substantially.
Google announced a new feature called Inactive Account Manager that lets users tell Google what they want done with their Google account and data when they pass (or become permanently incapacitated for any reason). It’s a sort of digital will.
“You can tell us what to do with your Gmail
messages and data from several other Google services if your account becomes inactive for any reason,” said Google Product Manager Andreas Tuerk in a blog post. “For example, you can choose to have your data deleted — after three, six, nine or 12 months of inactivity. Or you can select trusted contacts to receive data from some or all of the following services: +1s; Blogger; Contacts and Circles; Drive; Gmail; Google+
Profiles, Pages and Streams; Picasa Web Albums; Google Voice and YouTube.”
(Image credit: carlosjj.deviantart.com)
To prevent accidental execution of your standing orders or confusion, Google will send users a text message and an email to their secondary email address before taking any action.
Frankly, Inactive Account Manager is one of the best features Google has ever come up with, because it has that simple-yet-brilliant quality the best tools have and it shows that there are Googlers who have a strong measure of humanity creating products.