Just when you thought Google had all the angles covered, it comes up with another one. This one at face value is a tad bizarre, but when you think about it, it makes complete sense. It comes in the shape of an Inactive Account Manager and, as Google puts it, it manages your digital afterlife.
Reading the headlines on the Google Blog you would be excused for thinking that this is some kind of macabre April 1st. But this is not just an elaborate out-of-office notice that runs something like: ‘Please excuse me for not replying to your email, but I appear to be dead!”
What, for example, in the absence of any instructions, happens to all the information that is contained in your Gamil account should you die, or more realistically, should you change the company you work for and no longer have access to a given account?
We have talked a great deal in the past about information security, but in an event like this there can be no truly secure solution other than destroying the information, or having it automatically passed to someone who becomes the new owner of the information.
Inactive Account Manager is a new feature that enables you to leave instructions with Google as to how your digital remains should be disposed of.
Inactive Accounts Access
To access it, go to your Google Accounts setting pages and leave instructions on what should be done with Gmail messages or data from a number of other Google services like including YouTube, Google+ , Pages and Streams , and Picasa Web Albums.
There are a number of options that come with it enabling you to have data deleted three, six, nine, or 12 months after the last recorded activity. It won’t just happen like that, though, and you will receive a text message to your mobile phone, or to the secondary address you provided for your account.
You can also set a forwarding address so someone close to you, or one of your colleagues in the case of work, can received all the emails associated with that particular account.
Quick note -- this new feature is not available for Google Apps accounts.
Image Courtesy of Micha Rosenwirth (Shutterstock)