60-Second Tech

Plan Your Digital Death

Google's Inactive Account Manager allows you to arrange for the deletion of your data upon your demise. Larry Greenemeier reports

Have you given any thought to your afterlife—I mean the digital one. Google has. The company says that after you’re gone, it will act as electronic executor for the gigabytes of data left in Gmail and their other digital offerings, based on your instructions.

Call it a last will and testament for the 21st-century Web citizen. Using the new Inactive Account Manager, you can have Google delete your data or pass it along to one or more of your contacts upon your demise. You can also set the service to kick in after anywhere from three to 18 months of inactivity.

And don’t worry about Google mistakenly eliminating your online life while you’re still living. Inactive Account Manager will attempt to e-mail you or call using the number in your Google profile before it takes you off the grid.

Of course, your Google planning does not address the thousands of tweets you’ve made or the years of posting to Facebook. But at least it covers YouTube and any embarrassing videos you’d rather not have as your digital legacy.

—Larry Greenemeier

[The above text is a transcript of this podcast.]

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