Smile! You’re On Google Ads

image01Google recently announced an update to its Terms of Service, so if you were observant enough to have caught that, you’ll discover that you should be more concerned about this particular update than you’d normally be. With this update you can expect to see your recommendations of just about everything online be shared with your connections. This new feature has been christened Shared Endorsements.

What’s Shared Endorsements and why should we be concerned?

Whether they are +1’s for your favorite French restaurant or a newly-downloaded game on Google Play, Shared Endorsements makes use of your recommendations and lets your connections see them. Not only that, your recommendation will be accompanied with your name, profile photo and reviews, turning an otherwise run-of-the-mill comment into a very personal endorsement which allows Google and its ad partners a nice, tidy profit via this latest online advertising venture.

Sounds familiar? We won’t fault you for thinking about Facebook’s ill-fated Sponsored Stories and how similar it is to Google’s very own Shared Endorsements. In fact, this is even eerily similar to the Instagram ad fiasco – everyone understands that creating and sharing information are the norm online especially since the web is growing at an exponential rate (as illustrated here), but nobody likes the way ANY information shared will be manipulated to help companies gain a big bag of cash the next time you decided to tell the world that you love XYZ-branded peanut butter cookies. What’s even more disconcerting to Internet users is that their photos and other information are plastered all over the World Wide Web for all to see.

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To illustrate this scenario, imagine telling your friend Sally about the new brand of deodorant you’re using. You love its scent and how fresh it made your unmentionables feel. Sally listens, enraptured. All is well UNTIL Sally decides to take a cab to the company that makes your favorite brand of deodorant and reveals how you feel about the product to its makers. Not only that, Sally GETS PAID without your knowledge. But you won’t know this, UNTIL you see posters containing your face, information and testimonials plastered all over town! In other words, Sally has profited from the information you revealed to her AND made sure your information is available everywhere for everyone to see.

Now, think about how this would make you feel because Google is possibly looking to replicate this act.

How to avoid being a Google Ad “star”

Luckily, Google has made it possible for you to exercise your control and user right by NOT participating in this feature. Here’s how you can opt out of Google’s Shared Endorsements.

image04Step 1: Make sure you’re logged into your Google account.

Sign in to your Google Account. If, for some reason, you don’t have a Google account, you need not worry about Shared Endorsements… or do you?

Step 2: Go to your Shared Endorsements settings.

Read how this setting is applicable in Shared Endorsements.

Step 3: Uncheck and opt out.

Scroll to the bottom of the page and UNCHECK the little box shown, then hit SAVE. In a nutshell, you’re essentially disallowing Google to show your name and profile photo in Shared Endorsements that appear in their ads.

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You’ll be asked again to discourage your actions, so just push on and hit the CONTINUE button.

Conclusion: We don’t really know if all this will prompt angry public response but all will be revealed come November 11. But what we DO know is that Google’s latest Shared Endorsements feature will hardly make it fashionable for millions to sign up for Google+.

About Author: Gagandeep Singh is a freelancing Green Energy Consultant & Content Outreach specialist at Lentix Solutions. He is a restless visionary and a passionate guest writer. He enjoys sharing technological happenings in energy & IT sector.

To contact author of this post, email at gagan.greenconsultant@gmail.com

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