6 Comments

Summary:

On November 1, Google will turn users into product pitchmen by letting advertisers rent their endorsements for web ads. If you don’t want to go along with this, here’s how to turn it off.

Google announced a policy change on Friday that lets the company create sponsored endorsements based on reviews it collects from YouTube, Zagat and other Google-controlled sites. In practice, this means that after November 1 (when the policy goes into effect), you may see yourself appearing in ads like these:

Screen Shot 2013-10-11 at 12.09.32 PM

Some people will be fine with this — after all, if you like (or hate) the product, why not tell the world? And Facebook does it too (despite a big legal headache). But others will resent Google turning them into product pitchmen. If you’re in the latter group, THIS LINK will show you a box:

Google endorsement screenshot

Uncheck that box and hit Save and you will see this message:

Screen Shot 2013-10-11 at 11.58.21 AM

If you think your friends will be just fine without your automated endorsements, hit “Continue” and you’re all good. If you want to do it the long way or if THE LINK disappears, you can burrow deep into Google’s settings and do the following:

1) Click on the avatar that appears on the very top right when you’re logged into Gmail, YouTube, Google +, Google Play, etc.

2) A little box will pop up. Click the word “Account” in the box (not the word “Privacy” – go figure)

3) On the list on the left side of the screen, Click Google +

4) Look for the bold letters Shared Endorsements, and click “Edit” to the right of that

5) Scroll down, uncheck the box, hit Save, hit Continue

Image by R. Gino Santa Maria via Shutterstock

  1. Apparently, you already have to be signed up for Google+ for this to work.

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    1. And I think you have to be a member of Google+ for them to use your image. So if you’re not a member (recommended for other reason), you shouldn’t have to worry.

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  2. Valentine North Saturday, October 12, 2013

    Do they publish the entire comment? Or just the parts they like?

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  3. I click on those links and it tries to sign me up for Google+. Is there a way to opt out without signing up for something else I don’t want?

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  4. Same question as the above: i assume that you already have to be a Google+ user to “autorize” your endorsement?
    Luckily i don’t use Google+

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  5. From my read/understanding: The comments that would be used for endorsements are from Google+ accounts. So if you don’t have a Google+ you won’t be leaving endorsements/comments and therefore won’t have to opt out. But, G is doing a lot of things to keep driving the creation of G+ account. You may eventually be required to have G+ in the Google ecosystem, or they could just batch/mass switch it on for you w/o option. Then keep this link handy. Now if I got a cut from them using my endorsement, like $10 or something then my privacy concerns are less :)

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