Google To Put Your Face On Shared Endorsements
October 11, 2013

Google To Put Your Face On Shared Endorsements

Enid Burns for – Your Universe Online

A Google Terms of Service update may allow the company to include the names, photos and comments of adult users in ads. A post on Google's Policies & Principles page details the changes. Google plans to use profile details for what it calls ‘shared endorsements.’

Google's plans to potentially use the profile details of friends in advertising who follow Facebook, the New York Times reports. In years past, Facebook has received a backlash for such actions.

The move, says Google, is to "give you - and your friends and connections - the most useful information," the explanation said. "Recommendations from people you know can really help. So your friends, family and others may see your profile name and photo, and content like the review you share or the ads you +1'd."

If you comment on Google+ or YouTube, or simply +1 an ad or article, among other content, Google now has the right to use that data in its advertising. Google will use activity across 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," the update states. A link to more information about shared endorsements can be found here.

Users can set controls on shared endorsements, including setting controls to "off" so that a profile name and photo will not show up in any shared endorsements pieces.

The update includes three changes:

  • First, clarifying how your profile name and photo might appear in Google products (including in reviews, advertising and other commercial contexts). You can control whether your image and name appear in ads via the Shared Endorsements setting.
  • Second, a reminder to use your mobile devices safely.
  • Third, details on the importance of keeping your password confidential.

Google also included some security features in the updates. In the same post, the search giant advised the safe use of mobile devices. The warning comes off like a Surgeon General warning printed on the label.

"It's just good common sense: Don’t use our services if you're doing something that requires your full attention, like driving, and our services might distract you. And, of course, always follow the law while driving," the post said.

An additional advisory includes a warning on passwords. In short, be careful with your password. Google states that your Google username and password is to access useful things such as Gmail, Google+ photos, YouTube videos, Google Contacts and more Google services. "Anyone you give your login details to could use them to access your Google account and the stuff you store with Google."

For most Google services, users are able to grant access to documents, photos and files to others without offering a password. To further protect the password, Google offers security features such as two-step verification and account-specific passwords.