PALO ALTO, CA -- Search engine Yahoo! has expanded into the more traditional mortuary business and plans to begin offering both physical and virtual funerals. Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer recently purchased the Roller & Hapgood & Tinney Funeral Home in Palo Alto and is having it retrofitted with high-definition video cameras, HD microphones and all of the other necessities for holding a virtual funeral.
We were talking at a party and some fans of the old HBO series "Six Feet Under" were telling me how cool the funeral business is, and I live near a funeral home and make a lot of money so I bought it.
Mayer plans to merge traditional funeral services with untraditional mourning and grief:
We're going to do caskets, embalming, cremation--the works. But lets face it. Who has time to grieve anymore. In today's world, if you don't check social media every 30 seconds or so you're going to fall behind. It's rude to look at your cell phone at a wake or funeral, but if you're attending via Skype no one has to know you have a second Yahoo! window open on your browser.
Mayer plans to allow virtual funeral attendees to pre-record their platitudes, or select from predefined list: "it's for the best", "if you need anything, let me know", "At least he/she isnt suffering anymore". This frees them from actually having to pay attention at the service.
Yahoo! also plans to offer funerals for virtual personas and avatars.
If you're playing Minecraft in hardcore mode and your character dies, that's permanent. Doesn't that virtual character deserve a proper send-off? Same thing if you decide to change your online persona. Suppose today you're "Internet Mimic" but you want to become "Griefer". It's a lot easier to make the transition if you have a proper funeral for your old persona.