It’s one of the eerie things about the internet – all your data is stored on a hard disk in some Utah-based data centre, but when you die, it stays there like a sort of unseen digital shrine.
At least, that’s how it used to be. Today Google announced a new feature that will delete your accounts and data if it thinks you have died. The programme allows you to have accounts automatically deleted or sent on to specified relatives or loved ones after three, six, nine, or 12 months of inactivity. It includes Gmail, Google Plus (its social network), Google Docs and a lot of other bits and pieces.
In a blog post, Google said: ‘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.’