What happens to your emails, photos and documents when you die? While there still hasn’t been a widely accepted solution for what to do with the online data of the recently deceased, Google has come up with a proactive option.
The company just announced a new update for Gmail called Inactive Account Manager. It allows users to essentially push a self-destruct button should the account remain inactive for 3, 6, 9 or 12 months. Besides having their account automatically deleted, users can also choose to have a notice sent to another account or have their data passed along to a designated contact. Think of it as a will, but for email.
Also included in the data sharing option are a variety of other Google services, such as YouTube, Blogger, Google Plus, Picasa and Google Voice. If you’re a registered Gmail user you can check out the new updates simply by accessing Inactive Account Manager here.
While death is certainly the ultimate reason for pushing the email delete button, in an age that requires us to activate new accounts for just about everything, I could also see this feature being useful for weeding out dormant accounts.
Which, if you still have a Myspace account and haven’t logged in since 2009, an inactive account manager system could offer the escape hatch you’ve been waiting for.