Google Develops ‘digital will’

April 26, 2013

Google has a way to ensure your data dies when you do.

The international tech giant, best known for its much-used search engine, has launched an Inactivity Account Manager, a “digital will” of sorts that allows users to determine what to do with their online “digital assets” once it’s no longer needed.

The account manager, which can be activated by a new setting on a Google account page, will also allow the user to have their data expunged after three, six, nine or 12 months of inactivity and users can also designate “trusted contacts” to receive the data.

“Not many of us like thinking about death – especially our own.  But making plans for what happens after you’re gone is really important for the people you leave behind.  So today, we’re launching a new feature that makes it easy to tell Google what you want done with your digital assets when you die or can no longer use your account,” product manager Andreas Tuerk wrote in a posting on Google’s publicity blog.

“We hope that this new feature will enable you to plan your digital afterlife – in a way that protects your privacy and security – and make life easier for your loved ones after you’re gone,” Tuerk added.

In the same vein, but with a twist, a new online app allows people to keep tweeting posthumously.  LivesOn makes it possible by tweeting for you after you’ve died.

The Twitter app, which came out in March, examines your tweets to learn about your tweeting patterns and creates tweets of its own in your, uh, memory.

It examines your tweets while you’re alive, learns about your tweeting patterns and then generates its own to match after you’re gone.

An executor, named by users before their demise, notifies the server and then takes control of the account.

Source:; written by Bruce DeMara, 4/12/13

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