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?

Related Links:

About Brian D. Hawkins

Blogging superhero by day and internet super villain by night. Blogger, future online millionaire and an all around great guy.


  1. Wow, that’s so screwed up. I would seriously flip out if I see my face sponsoring some product I don’t even use. World never gets better…just worse never amazes me.

  2. Good point about only sharing what you believe in Brian. Keep your rep intact because Google will call you on it 😉 We should share what we back and nothing else to avoid hairy situations down the road. Thanks!


  3. Brian,
    I may have totally missed this one if I hadn’t read this post. My setting was set to show my name and profile photo in shared endorsements that appear in ads. That is unbelievable. It’s getting more ad more difficult to protect our reputations online. Thanks for a great post!

  4. Yup! Google has become so Facebooky. It shows in all of their products – they’re after money. The new Gmail tabs and serving their ads in the Promotions tab in my inbox, hiding the keywords in GA dasboard and providing them for Adwords customers, and now this!

    I certainly don’t want the world to know which place I go and what products I buy unless I personally endorse them (in a review or by clicking a +1 button on the product site). And NO I don’t want my face to appear in ads. Thanks for the information and letting us know how to opt out. Yes I WILL opt out.

  5. But at least they’re giving us an easy way to opt out Scott. It is a little hard to keep up with all of the changes but people (and companies) shouldn’t lose track of what’s right and what’s wrong. I mean, wasn’t it Google’s motto to do no harm?

  6. That’s really all we have out here Ryan, our reputations. Without it, you have zero trust and influence and without that? No sales.

  7. I’m glad to help Sherryl, it looks like most of us were set to “opt-in” if we didn’t uncheck the box.

  8. I couldn’t have put it better myself Jane. They really have been making a lot of changes. I’m using Feedly now because I imagine Feedburner going the same way as Reader did. And Google Alerts seemed like it was going away but now I’m getting the emails again so it’s impossible to know what’s going on.

  9. Hey Brian,

    I think Google is trying to play catch up to Facebook and stoop to their same level. Well we already know what we search for on Google shows up on Facebook so we can’t be surprised that this was coming down the road too.

    Carolyn shared this on her blog last week and I immediately ran over to make sure I wasn’t signed up for this and sure enough, I was good.

    When Facebook started sharing related posts in the newsfeed, yet I couldn’t see what they were relating to something I had liked, I just thought that was being dishonest. I kind of feel like Google could be headed that way as well but at least people like you are writing about it so that we’ll have a heads up where I don’t recall reading or hearing about what Facebook was doing until way after the fact.

    Thank you for making everyone aware that this is being introduced and what we can do to make sure we’re not a part of it if we don’t want to be.

    Have a wonderful week Brian and thanks again.


  10. Hi Brian,

    Great post.
    Thanks for sharing these information.
    After reading your post, I find the need to opt out.
    Will update my Google + settings.

  11. Thanks for guiding me to remove the shared endorsements by google. Cheers for sharing! 🙂

  12. Hi Brian,

    This was a terrific post once again. I do agree that we should have some type of control of opting out. This is going to be a very interesting change. Thanks for sharing your post. 🙂

  13. Hi Brian !
    I didn’t know that we can disable shared endorsements module through Google accounts . I’ll be disabling it ASAP .Nice research and thanks for sharing this detail with us .


  14. Thank you Adrienne, you’re right, Facebook tends to release this kind of thing after the media has picked it up and everyone is upset. Kind of like Walmart firing that employee a few days ago; no need to worry about right and wrong because if we get caught we’ll go into damage control mode.

    So when you looked you were already opted out? I’ve been hearing that not everyone was opted-in by default but I have no idea what setting they might be using as a signal.

  15. Glad to help Amelia 😉

  16. That’s just what we do here David. 😉 Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  17. I’m glad you liked it Nancy, Google always has something interesting going on.

  18. Only for the ads going live next month Pramod but, yep, now’s the time to do it.

Speak Your Mind

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.