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October 11, 2013

Google Ad Endorsements

Google updated the terms of service to make it clear that it can show your name and Google+ profile picture next to ads.

"Feedback from people you know can save you time and improve results for you and your friends across all Google services, including Search, Maps, Play and in advertising. For example, your friends might see that you rated an album 4 stars on the band’s Google Play page. And the +1 you gave your favorite local bakery could be included in an ad that the bakery runs through Google. We call these recommendations shared endorsements."

Here's an excerpt from the updated terms of service:

"If you have a Google Account, we may display your Profile name, Profile photo, and actions you take on Google or on third-party applications connected to your Google Account (such as +1’s, reviews you write and comments you post) in our Services, including displaying in ads and other commercial contexts. We will respect the choices you make to limit sharing or visibility settings in your Google Account. For example, you can choose your settings so your name and photo do not appear in an ad."

Google already shows a list of people from your circles next to some Google search results and it showcases their reviews in Google Maps and Google Play. Now Google wants to expand this feature for ads and some people may not like to be associated with ads.

It's easy to disable ad endorsements: just go this page, scroll down, uncheck "Based upon my activity, Google may show my name and profile photo in shared endorsements that appear in ads" and click "Save". If you've created Google+ pages, they have separate ad endorsement options and you need to check the settings pages. It's important to mention that you can only disable ad endorsements, so all the other Google services and features can still show your name and profile next to search results, recommended apps, reviews and more.

"For users under 18, their actions won't appear in Shared Endorsements in ads and certain other contexts," informs Google. The new ad policy goes live next month (November 11).

"Facebook, the world’s largest social network with 1.2 billion users worldwide, has been aggressively marketing such social endorsements. For example, if you post that you love McDonald’s new Mighty Wings on the chain’s Facebook page, McDonald’s could pay Facebook to broadcast your kind words to all your friends, effectively using you as a product endorser. Facebook does not allow its users to opt out of such ads, which it calls sponsored stories, although users can limit how their actions on the social network are used in some other types of advertising," reports the New York Times.

{ Thanks, +Sushubh Mittal. }

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