A change to Google’s Terms of Service has now meant that your profile picture and reviews will be made visible in its advertisements from the 11th November.
A company using Google AdWords, for example a restaurant, will now show your face and opinion of that restaurant to be seen underneath the ad.
Although criticised from some quarters about the invasion of privacy, Google does allow you to opt out via your Google+ profile page. In addition, under 18’s will be exempt from any sharing actions because of the new change. Compared to Facebook, which doesn’t allow users to opt out of sponsored stories at all, the changes are not too extreme.
Google has described the change, with the following excerpt from its updated Terms:
“We want to give you – and your friends and connections – the most useful information. 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 reviews you share or the ads you +1’d. This only happens when you take an action (things like +1’ing, commenting or following) – and the only people who see it are the people you’ve chosen to share that content with.”
If you do decide to opt out, you will be alerted that “your friends will be less likely to benefit from your recommendations” which some users think is a last ditch attempt to keep you and your picture part of the Shared Endorsements.
However, because your face will only appear to users you are already connected with, along with the option to opt out even before the 11th November start date, the changes aren’t as invasive as some people may make out.