Huh? Google making money off your face & name? What you need to know

Starting November 11th, you might just see your friend’s name and face in a Google ad – and they might see yours in the Google ads displayed to them.

Much like Facebook, Twitter and other social networks that have tried to integrate information about friends and connections into ads, Google plans to attempt to encourage “word of mouth” advertising via social advertising. The idea behind this decision is that the people you trust the most for recommendations are your friends and connections. Google says, “Feedback from people you know can save you time and improve the results for you and your friends across all Google services, including Search, Maps, Play and in advertising.

For example, if you are thinking about trying a new restaurant and you see your friend gave it a 5-star rating, you might be more inclined to check it out. Likewise if their rating was poor, you might forego dinner there in favor of a place they (or another friend) do recommend.

If you are trying to find a new dentist, seeing that your friend endorsed one of your choices, might influence your decision on which dentist you ultimately choose.

To accomplish this, Google plans on using your activity (such as reviews, +1’s, follows, shares, etc.) may be used along with your name and photo in commercial or other promotional contexts. They call these recommendations “shared endorsements.”

Here are some things you should know about shared endorsement ads:

  • The only people who see your name and photo in an ad are the people you’ve chosen to share other content with on Google (your friends, family and connections you’ve added.)
  • The only time your name and photo may appear in an ad is when you’ve taken some kind of action, such as +1’ing, commenting, following or posting a review.
  • By default, Google users’ information, ratings and reviews can be included in social advertisements. In other words, when you agree to Google’s terms and conditions (or if you already have agreed to them as a Google user) you agree to allowing Google to use your face and name in ads.
  • If you don’t want your name and photo to appear you can opt out. (I’ve included instructions later in this email.)

From Google, they also add that:

  • You can choose when you want to share content.
  • Shared endorsements do not impact who can see your content or page activity.
  • The name and photo shown is your public profile name and photo that you chose on Google+.
  • Anyone under 18 will see shared endorsements from others, but will not have their name and profile shared in ads.

As mentioned, Google’s settings allow you to limit the use of your name and photo in ads. To do this, here’s what you do…

1)     Log into your Google account.

2)     Click this link

3)     If the box at the bottom has a checkmark in it, uncheck the box. If it doesn’t have a checkmark, then leave it unchecked.

4)     Hit the save button.

That’s it, you’re done.

In closing, here’s what you need to do. If you like the idea of “word-of-mouth” advertising and want your friends, family and connections to see your recommendations, the music you like, etc. then do nothing. By default you’ve already agreed to let Google use your name and face in their ads.

But if you don’t want to see your name and face appear in ads, take a minute now to opt out using this link:


P.S. We’d like to know what you think about Google’s latest move? Do you agree with it or think it’s an invasion of privacy? Will you opt out or will you check it out first and see if you like it?


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