Business

Google pulls a Facebook: New terms of service let it use your name and photo for ad ‘endorsements’

Image Credit: Ricardo Bilton/VentureBeat

The next time you consider interacting with a brand on Google+, you might want to think twice.

Some upcoming changes to Google’s terms of service will authorize the company to use your name and photo in ads if you review, follow, or +1 brands online.

In other words, commenting on something now means you’re also endorsing it — at least in Google’s world.

To use a concrete example, imagine if you visited a new bar and commented on your experience there via Google+. That bar can then use your comment to advertise to your friends, family, and other connections. Google calls these ads “shared endorsements.”

google-shared-endorsements

Above: Here are a few examples of what Google’s shared endorsements look like.

The new policy, which takes effect on Nov. 11, is an extension of Google’s previous policy with +1s, which brands already use in ads to boost their credibility.

Overall, though, the program doesn’t sound all that different from Google’s efforts to tie people’s Google+ profiles to their Google Play reviews.  More than anything, Google nowadays is all about combining all of the data it has on you, as its privacy policy consolidation last year showed.

There are, however, to caveats here: One, the policy will only affect Google users over 18, and Google will also permit users opt out of the new program. That’s generally how ad programs like this work nowadays, so it’s not surprising that Google is following suit.

Google’s new user endorsements mirror Facebook’s own “Sponsored Stories,” which also pull in names and photos to add more legitimacy to advertisements. But Facebook has also gotten into a bit of legal trouble over the program, and it’s almost a guarantee that Google will face similar pushback.

Welcome to the new normal.


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