I am not a privacy freak (after all, this website is publicly posted with my name and picture!), but I do have my limits. Whether you’ve used it or not, Google has a social media part to it called Google+. Where Facebook encourages “Likes” for users to show support for an individual or business page, Google+ users “+1” those they support. Google calls this shared endorsements. Plus, comments and reviews that you make on other Google products like YouTube or Google Play are considered to be shared endorsements.
So here’s what’s happening. On November 11, 2013, Google’s new ad policy will begin showing these shared endorsements with adult users’ names, photos and comments in ads on the web. An example from a New York Times article described it this way:
“If a user follows a bakery on Google Plus or gives an album four stars on the Google Play music service, for instance, that person’s name, photo and endorsement could show up in ads for that bakery or album.”
Here’s what you can do if you don’t want your shared endorsements used in Google ads. Go to https://plus.google.com/settings/endorsements?hl=en, uncheck the box beside “Based upon my activity, Google may show my name and profile photo in shared endorsements that appear in ads.” and click Save. This will not prevent how your reviews or recommendations may show up in a search result that is not an ad. For example, if you review a restaurant on Tripadvisor, your review could possibly show up in Google search results for that restaurant.
Even though you may never “+1”, review or recommend anything, it can’t hurt to go ahead and opt out of having your name and photo appear in a Google ad for a shared endorsement.