Google to include user names, pictures in ads: Here’s how to opt out

Google said it will soon start using users' profile names and pictures in ads that their friends will see.

Google is following Facebook by announcing that it will start incorporating users profile names and pictures into ads their friends might see.

The announcement comes as part of a new terms of service revealed by the search giant Friday that goes into effect Nov. 11.

The ads show users’ profile pictures and names shared on Google+. The ads will not affect users without Google+ accounts or those who use Google without signing in.

The ads are very similar to those seen on Facebook, like when the social network suggests a page you should follow and also tells you which of your friends have already liked that page.


In the case of Google, the company said these ads -- formally called “shared endorsements” -- will be visible in Search, Maps and Google Play. Google said it is adding these ads because seeing recommendations from people users know “can really help.”

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“For example, your friends might see that you rated an album 4 stars on the band’s Google Play page,” the company explained online. “And the +1 you gave your favorite local bakery could be included in an ad that the bakery runs through Google.”

Fortunately, opting out of the ads is extremely easy. Simply head to this page and scroll to the bottom. There, uncheck the box that says “Based upon my activity, Google may show my name and profile photo in shared endorsements that appear in ads.” Then hit “save.”

That takes care of most things. However, if you like posting public reviews for products or places, Google said it will show that activity to your friends, even if you opt out.

“Changing this setting does not impact how your name and photo might look in a shared endorsement that is not in an ad,” the company said. “For example, when you share a music recommendation that is displayed in the Play Store.”

If you don’t want Google to show your reviews to your friends and people who follow you on Google+, don’t post them publicly or post them on non-Google websites.

Users younger than 18 need not worry. Google said their actions won’t appear in any of its shared endorsements.



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