Smile, Your Face Might Appear in Google Ads
Google+ is adding a lot of pluses these days, and one that users will not be happy about -- being featured in an ad that could include your username, picture and comments, without being compensated for it.
Google plans to launch new product-endorsement ads incorporating the photos, comments and names of its users, in a move to match the "social" ads pioneered by rival Facebook that is raising some privacy concerns, CNN reports.
On Oct. 11, Google announced a change in its revised terms of service policy, in which the company will introduce "shared endorsements" ads on its sites, as well as millions of other websites that are part of Google's display advertising network.
Google+, a social network that was launched by Google in 2011, has thrown many users for a loop. The new ads will use its members' personal information and obtain it in a tricky way.
How could Google+ users appear in an ad?
If you're click-happy and like to share your opinions on food and music, you may have to brace yourself.
The way it will work is "if a Google+ user has publicly endorsed a particular brand or product by clicking on the +1 button, that person's image might appear in an ad. Reviews and ratings of restaurants or music that Google+ users share on other Google services, such as in the Google Play online store, would also become fair game for advertisers," CNN explains.
The ads are comparable to the social ads on Facebook, "the world's No. 1 social network, which has 1.15 billion users."
When will this change go into effect?
Google's latest terms of service change will be implemented on November 11.
Marc Rotenberg, the director of online privacy group EPIC, told CNN, "those ads are attractive to marketers, but they unfairly commercialize Internet users' images." He added, "It's a huge privacy problem." Rotenberg also suggested that "the U.S. Federal Trade Commission should review the policy change to determine whether it violates a 2011 consent order Google entered into which prohibits the company from retroactively changing users' privacy settings."
If you are a Google+ user under 18, you're in luck; you will be exempt from the ads. While Google+ users will have the ability to opt out, Rotenberg points out that users "shouldn't have to go back and restore their privacy defaults every time Google makes a change."
"Information Google+ users have previously shared with a limited "circle" of friends will remain viewable only to that group, as will any shared endorsement ads that incorporate the information, Google said in a posting on its website explaining the new terms of service," CNN reports.
Google is a heavy hitter in both the world of advertising as well as the World Wide Web, given that it "operates the world's most popular Web search engine as well as other online services such as maps, email and video website YouTube."
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