Privacy-concerned Google+ users may be shocked to find out that as of November 11, Google may begin using their pictures, names and comments in new ads.
From November 11, Google will begin including these ads on their search engines and including user reviews and feedback on search terms. For example, running a quick search for popular restaurants in your area won’t just give you contact details and websites, but reviews and comments by your friends. Aside from appearing on searches, the ads may also pop up on any one of the 2 million sites that form part of the Google ad network.
Whilst some users might not find this to be a problem, other Google+ users have already begun to call the ads invasive. The use of user reviews by Google was made possible by the latest update to the company’s terms of service, which was released on Friday of the previous week. The changes made to the ToS make new allowances for these ads, which are referred to as “shared endorsements” by Google.
Users who really wish to avoid appearing in any of these ads may refrain from leaving reviews on Google+, Google Play, or any other tied-in Google services. Luckily it is easy to opt out of these ads officially by visiting the settings page on your Google+ account and accessing Shared Endorsements. You may then unselect the box next to the text “Based upon my activity, Google may show my name and profile photo in shared endorsements that appear in ads”.