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Google will use your name, photos in ads: how to stop this

Google magically granted itself permission to use your name and photos to make money, but you can put a stop to it.

google endorsements

google endorsements

Google rolls out endorsements, some may not like it

If you use Google, you will want to read this: be prepared for the possibility of your name, photos, and comments to become part of Google’s money-making ad campaign. Google announced a change to their Terms of Service, which gives them the magical ability to capitalize on what they term, “shared endorsements.”

The new changes will take effect on November 11, 2013 and will bring three main changes: how your profile name and photo may appear in Google products (including, but not limited to, reviews, and other advertising and commercial contexts); a reminder to use mobile devices safely; and the importance of keeping your password confidential. Obviously the shared endorsements are the most significant change.

How it works

Shared endorsements work like this: say you rate some music in the Google Play store, your friends will be able to see that you like that band. If you search for a new place to eat, you may see a restaurant review from one of your friends. This also includes Google’s other services, like YouTube. And perhaps most important to note: the name and photo shown in shared endorsements are the information on your Google+ public profile. So if your profile name is not your real name, your photo could be plastered all over the Internet bearing the name, “Captain Kirk.” While that may be cute for your friends, it is not something you want your business contacts to see, so again, check your privacy settings and make sure you are covered.

How to opt out

Less than happy about this change? You are not alone. Some users have gone so far as to replace their own profile photos with one of Google’s executive chairman, Eric Schmidt; hoping to show Google that they are not happy about shared endorsements invading their privacy. If you are one of these people, check out this page to change and save your settings regarding shared endorsements.

This setting is separate from the “ads setting” even though the endorsements turn into ads; so make sure you check them both and keep your information private.

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Jennifer Walpole is a Senior Staff Writer at The American Genius and holds a Master's degree in English from the University of Oklahoma. She is a science fiction fanatic and enjoys writing way more than she should. She dreams of being a screenwriter and seeing her work on the big screen in Hollywood one day.

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