Google Gets Into The Digital Afterlife Business

The clumsily-named (by one exec's own admission) Inactive Account Manager will take action on a user's Google footprint if they haven't logged in within a specified period of time.

What's the Latest Development?


To the growing number of companies offering services to handle the digital records of the deceased, add one more: This week Google launched Inactive Account Manager, which, as the name describes, lets users determine what will happen to their Google-based data after a predefined period of inactivity. The information -- which can range from Google+ contact lists to Gmail e-mails to Picasa photo albums to YouTube viewing history -- can either be deleted or sent to "trusted contacts." All of this has to be set up by the user themselves while they're still alive; it can't be done after the person is dead.

What's the Big Idea?

The concept of Internet immortality has been questioned for some time now, and various efforts have appeared to give users more control over their online footprints both while they're alive and -- for relatives and friends -- after they're dead. With regards to the deceased, survivors continue to encounter problems with accessing and closing accounts, with some having to resort to a court order. For this reason a service like Inactive Account Manager should be placed in the same category as wills and life insurance: a tool used to "make life easier for your loved ones after you've gone," says Google's Andreas Tuerk.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

Read it at The Guardian

A dark matter hurricane is crashing into Earth

Giving our solar system a "slap in the face"

Surprising Science
  • A stream of galactic debris is hurtling at us, pulling dark matter along with it
  • It's traveling so quickly it's been described as a hurricane of dark matter
  • Scientists are excited to set their particle detectors at the onslffaught
Keep reading Show less

We are heading for a New Cretaceous, not for a new normal

The climate change we're witnessing is more dramatic than we might think.

Image credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center from Greenbelt, MD, USA
Surprising Science

A lazy buzz phrase – 'Is this the new normal?' – has been doing the rounds as extreme climate events have been piling up over the past year. To which the riposte should be: it's worse than that – we're on the road to even more frequent, more extreme events than we saw this year.

Keep reading Show less

New study reveals what time we burn the most calories

Once again, our circadian rhythm points the way.

Photo: Victor Freitas / Unsplash
Surprising Science
  • Seven individuals were locked inside a windowless, internetless room for 37 days.
  • While at rest, they burned 130 more calories at 5 p.m. than at 5 a.m.
  • Morning time again shown not to be the best time to eat.
Keep reading Show less