There was a time when we wondered what might happen to our online accounts if we died unexpectedly; a question that has spawned a number of startups designed to address this issue. But some recent high-profile examples have shown that there is still no simple, widely accepted solution for handling one's data in the event of sudden death. However, a recent update to Gmail offers a new feature that may help its millions of users feel a bit more secure about how their data will be handled in the event of an untimely passing.
Google's new Gmail update is called Inactive Account Manager and it allows users to set a number of specific actions if the account remains inactive for a certain amount of time. After three, six, nine, or 12 months of inactivity, users can set the account to automatically delete itself, send a notice to one another email account, or have their data shared with a designated contact.
The data sharing component also covers a number of other services in the Google online services suite including YouTube, Blogger, Google+, Picasa, and Google Voice. If you're already a Gmail user, you can check out the new feature by accessing it on the settings page here.