Google actively plans for your demise
They say nothing is certain but death and taxes. Google has experience avoiding the latter and wants you to plan for the former. While I can only assume that Google would prefer you stick around and use its services and click on the ads for as long as possible, the company has a Plan B. Despite the incredible attempts being made by both medical science and Ray Kurzweil, the search giant goes in another direction. Instead of memorializing you online as some sites allow you to plan for, Google prefers you simply plan what happens to your account when the Grim Reaper comes calling.
The company has released a new settings page so you choose what happens when your account becomes inactive. While Google will not actually come out and use the word "death", it certainly does an excellent job implying that this is what is meant -- perhaps the company did not consult with Mr. Kurzweil, its director of engineering and author of the book The Singularity Is Near: A True Story About the Future.
Google's new settings page provides a number of options, including, first and foremost, an alert system to let you know your account has become inactive -- you know, just in case you have not "moved on". The alert can be set to message you by either email or text before phase two kicks in -- handy for those who opt to be buried with their phones. As the company puts it "there are many situations that might prevent you from accessing or using your Google account".
If the worst has come to pass then you can also choose what happens from that point on. Customers can add contacts whom they wish to be notified regarding the fact that their Google account is no longer active, share data with those included on the list and even set the account to be deleted on their behalf. The page claims "using Inactive Account Manager, you can decide if and when your account is treated as inactive, what happens with your data and who is notified".
It is a sad, but inevitable need that Google is filling with this new service. Perhaps the company and Kurzweil could devote more time to circumventing this need than preparing for it. This may be a bit more important than self-driving cars and glasses that shoot video.