Google, in yet another not-so-public-friendly way, has updated its Terms of Service allowing itself to use your profile picture and name in Google Ads on search engine result pages in the name of a feature called “Shared Endorsements”. So how does that work?
As scary that sounds, it’s not really that bad. If you search for a restaurant in your area and one of your friends had left a star rating for that place, that friend’s profile picture, name, and his review will show up alongside the ad. That’s the same thing that’ll happen to you too. If your friends from Google+ circles search for something, let’s say a music in Google Play music store, and if you had +1’d any music previously, they’ll see your name and picture along with the information that you +1’d it.
This may sound nothing new as you already see which of your friends have +1’d apps and games on Google Play store. But new part is, the information will now go on search engine result pages as well. That means when someone searches for something on Google, and Google shows ads in the results page, your face is likely to be shown there provided that you had some public interaction with that searched item or place.
Luckily though, you’ll not be exposed if your date of birth on file with Google states that you’re currently under 18. If you’re over 18 years old, that doesn’t mean you have no choice, though. Simply go to “Shared Endorsement” page and scroll down until you see a checkbox. Uncheck that and click Save. You’d then be saving yourself from being advertised on Google.
If you’re curious on the new terms of service, you can find them here.
I wouldn’t worry much about my information being advertised on the web because there’s nothing private about those updates. When I +1 an item or leave a review of a restaurant or other places, I mean it to be seen by my friends. And the new “Shared Endorsement” feature only shows this to those who are on my Google+ circles. So I’d not worry about them seeing what I had to say about certain products and places. But your choice might be different. If it is, feel free to turn that feature off from the link given above.
What’s your take on Google’s new feature? Are you going to turn that off?