Googles Shared Endorsements

How To Opt Out of Google’s Shared Endorsements

Last week (October 11, 2013) Google announced a change that allows them to use your name and image as an endorsement within advertisements if you’ve rated or reviewed that product in the past. Personally, I don’t see a reason to be “up in arms” about Google’s update to its Terms of Service but there are a couple of things that concern me.

Is Google Too Facebooky?

First, the fact that Google is, for the most part, forcing users to opt-out rather than opt-in is a little too Facebooky. With that said, I fully understand why Google wants to use our feedback to provide endorsements for items we’ve shown interest in; that’s just the new age of business.

It would be awesome if Google would take the highroad like Twitter just did a couple of days ago when they allowed Tweeple to opt-in to allowing anyone to direct message us. Twitter has the “Receive direct messages from any follower” option unchecked by default. Twitter just moved up a notch in trust and credibility for me. Google? Not so much, but I’m still a huge fan of Google Plus.

Google’s Vague Wording

My second concern is the language Google is using. Google announced;

First, clarifying how your Profile name and photo might appear in Google products (including in reviews, advertising and other commercial contexts).”

image - Other commercial contexts

Well, what’s included in “other commercial contexts“? Does that mean Google will say something like “Brian Hawkins also searched for such and such” in my G+ circle’s search results page? Will Google tell my contacts that I purchased a product that someone else is seeing in an ad or search page? Just because I made the purchase doesn’t mean I want to endorse it. I might have hated it and I don’t want my contacts to think I’m endorsing it.

Are you going to see that I recently visited a certain local restaurant via Google Maps or are you going to see just those I’ve +1ed and/or reviewed? The latter is fine but there may be places we go to that we don’t want the entire world to know about. I could have some fun with a few examples here but I don’t want to get sidetracked. 😉 Feel free to let it loose in the comments though. lol

At least Google gave us a way to opt out of Shared Endorsements. It’s looking like everyone is not automatically included in the Shared Endorsements by default. Some users say they went to opt out and the box was already unchecked. It’s possible that Google is using information from other settings to determine how yours is set; it’s not clear yet.

You Can’t Opt Out Of All Shared Endorsements

image - Evernote Review

If I understand what I’m reading from Google, you can only opt out of shared endorsements as it relates to ads. We’ve been seeing +1 activity and reviews in things like Google search, Google Plus Content Recommendations For Mobile, and Google Play for a while now. Here’s Google’s exact words on the opt out form (Notice the “shared endorsements that appear in ads“);

Based upon my activity, Google may show my name and profile photo in shared endorsements that appear in ads.

image - shared endorsements that appear in ads

Protect Your Reputation And Credibility

image - Evernote Endorsements

Important: It’s always been important to be careful what we +1 and review on the net. This is just more evidence of that. Be selective in what you +1, share, rate or endorse; your reputation does depend on it. I’d also say the same with every social network out there; don’t just like, tweet, share etc. on any network just willy-nilly – put your name on only what you believe in.

Opting Out Of Shared Endorsements

If you don’t want Google using your name and image in advertisements, simply go to the Shared Endorsements section in your Google+ settings.

image - Google Plus Shared Endorsements Setting

Read the page and then, if you still want to opt-out, uncheck the box (if it’s checked). You’ll get a confirmation popup, simply click “continue“. And you’re all done – opted out of advertising endorsements for Google.

image - Shared Endorsements Opt Out

image - Opt Out Confirmation

Will You Opt Out?

Are you concerned with your name being associated with Google ads? What about products and services found in search, maps, play or any other Google property? Do you think online privacy is just an illusion these days? Can you see how your endorsements actually help your online friends? Are you worried that Google is becoming too much like Facebook with force-fed tactics like this?

Related Video:
What Are Google’s Shared Endorsements And Can I Opt-Out?

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