Last week we mentioned that Google is updating its terms of service so it can use your name, face, reviews, and social networking activity (like +1s) in ads displayed to your friends or anyone else Google thinks would be influenced by your opinion. Good or bad, one thing is true: It's easy to opt out. Here's how.
- Just click here to go directly to the "Shared Endorsements" Google+ settings page.
- Uncheck the box labeled "Based upon my activity, Google may show my name and profile photo in shared endorsements that appear in ads." Click Save.
- You'll get a pop-up warning you that if you disable the feature, your friends won't see your recommendations. Click Continue.
On the bright side , Google has gone out of its way to tell alert people to the change and provide a direct link to opt out. That's more than can be said for Facebook, which made a similar change earlier this year, from which there's no opting out (aside from tweaking your privacy settings so no one sees what you like). To boot, Google's Shared Endorsements are (at least for now) only seen by people Google thinks would be influenced by your opinion, meaning your friends, people in your circles, or people who have circled you on Google+. It's actually a restrained way of approaching faux-word-of-mouth advertising, and there are arguments that this is actually a good thing—why wouldn't you want to hear what your friends thought of a band or restaurant before you download a new album or eat there?
On the other hand, there's something to be said for the notion that companies should be able to find ways to advertise without using the identities and likenesses of their users to do it, or even offer a users a method to pay for a useful service without constantly being marketed to or instead being forced to fight for their privacy. Similarly, not everyone likes or +1s a company or product in order to give it an endorsement—sometimes you do so for work, or to stay up to date on their products—not because you love them and want your friends to try them too. However you feel, you have until November 11th to opt out or stay opted in; that's when the new terms of service go into effect. Worst case, you could just change your profile picture to a photo of Eric Schmidt, like some people are doing.
How to Opt Out of Google’s Plan to Use Your Name and Comments in Ads | The New York Times