Google is updating their Terms of Service on November 11, 2013. There are several updates to their TOS, and notably one of the changes has many people in an uproar. If you follow a business on the Google+ social network, there is a chance that your endorsement could be used in an advertisement for that business, elsewhere on the web. You can read about the changes to the Terms of Service.
Your image could be used in ads, just like this:
This setting lets you to limit the use of your name and photo in shared endorsements in Google ads. Note that it applies only to actions that Google displays within ads; the “Summertime Spas” example above shows a shared endorsement appearing in an ad on Google Search.
What’s important to know, in short, is that:
– If you use Google to post a review, +1 a business page or make a comment, Google has the right to use that information as a “endorsement” of a business. They can use your photo (avatar) or your name in an advertisement for that business.
I actually liken this to what Facebook has done (and is doing). If you go to certain web pages, just like my blog, you will see that I have embedded my Facebook updates in the sidebar. Well, if you are logged into Facebook there is a good chance that Facebook will show you some of your friends that have also liked my Facebook page.
But in this case, if you have “liked” or “follow” a business page on Google+, then Google has the right to use your image or photo in an ad for that business.
Here is what Google says what is important to note:
We’ve made three changes:
— First, clarifying how your Profile name and photo might appear in Google products (including in reviews, advertising and other commercial contexts).
— You can control whether your image and name appear in ads via the Shared Endorsements setting.
— Second, a reminder to use your mobile devices safely.
— Third, details on the importance of keeping your password confidential.
Of course the “using your mobile device safely” notice is a no-brainer. And we always keep our password confidential, right?
Here is the email that is being sent out by Google. I have set up a Google+ business page called Bill Hartzer, so that is why they are referring to my business page in this email:
An Update for Google+ Page Owners and Managers
October 11, 2013
We’re writing to let you know that we will be updating Google’s Terms of Service on November 11, 2013; you can read a summary of the coming changes here. We’ve also added a new setting that gives you more control over where your Page’s name, photo and actions appear on Google and across the web.
We’ve updated Google’s Terms of Service, including changes that apply to Google’s use of your Page’s name, photo and actions.
Google+ is designed to enable your content to be discovered, for example, by surfacing contextually relevant content or actions when they might be of interest to others. We call these recommendations ‘shared endorsements’. The changes to the Terms clarify details about how your Page’s name, photo and relevant activity may appear in shared endorsements. For example, if your Page publicly follows another Page, Google may surface this action with your Page’s name and photo when relevant and helpful to users, including in ads.
You’re in control of what you share on Google. Your Page sharing settings are not affected and, as always, if you’ve shared something with a limited audience, we respect that.
What Can I Do?
The new Shared Endorsements setting lets you control how your Page’s name, photo and the actions you take (such as +1’s, reviews you write, or comments you post) may appear in advertising. This setting does not affect other places your Page’s name and photo may appear. You can access this setting from your Page’s Dashboard and may change it any time. If you turn the setting off, you may not be able to use certain features until you re-enable it.
If you manage multiple Pages, each Page has its own setting. The Pages you currently manage are listed below:
View your pages in Google+
The changes to the Terms will be effective as of November 11, 2013. If you do not take any action, the Shared Endorsements setting will be turned on.
Where Can I Learn More?
To learn more about these updates for Google+ Pages, you can review the updated Google Terms of Service as well as the Google+ Help Center.
Please also read the updated Google+ Pages Additional Terms of Service
The Google+ Team
So, what’s the bottom line here? If you don’t want Google to use your image or photo or review or comments as a part of an ad, then go to the Shared Endorsements setting and don’t allow Google to use your photo. Frankly, I have no problem with it. They can use my photo all they want. But if you don’t want Google to use your photo in ads, then do this:
1. Go to the Shared Endorsements page.
2. Go to the bottom of the page. Click “Based upon my activity, Google may show my name and profile photo in shared endorsements that appear in ads.” off (make sure it is unchecked) and click “Save”.